Feature

Radiohead: The King of Limbs

In its latest album, the English band tempers its "brainiac tendencies" with “needling dance beats.”

(XL Recordings)

***

“Radiohead, it seems, has become a dance band,” said Ann Powers in the Los Angeles Times. After years of delivering brainy, densely layered music, the English band experiments on its “decisively unpretentious” new release with “needling dance beats” that occasionally even approach being funky. The chilly atmospherics that have defined the band since 2000’s Kid A are still prevalent, but the “sensual power of these songs tempers Radiohead’s frowny brainiac tendencies.” Three of the eight songs are actually “muted” ballads—in that sense, “unsurprising reminders of Radiohead’s past,” said Greg Kot in the Chicago Tribune. Those familiar-sounding tracks help make Limbs a record that’s “more intriguing for what it promises” than for what it delivers. “At its best, it feels fidgety and unstable, at its worst downcast and a bit predictable.” As Thom Yorke sings in the closer, “Separator,” “If you think this is everything, you’re wrong.”

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