Posted by: martinworster | October 25, 2011

130. RADIOHEAD.2

I’d say over the last 15 years if you asked me who my favourite band was I’d say Radiohead. A very obvious choice. Darlings of the critics, the musos favourite, definitely a band it’s ‘cool to like’ (whatever that means). But more and more of late I find myself yearning for – highly unlikely, I know – a return to a more guitar driven Bends / OK Computer type album.

This is indicative of a larger personal mini-crisis I am having with regards to a lot of electronica of late. Seeing footage of Thom DJing at various nights around the world (Brainfeeder in LA, Plastic People in London etc) I can’t make up my mind whether this illustrates an artist at the vanguard or a geezer desperately trying to be down with the kids. In the electronic music golden age – IMHO early 90s – Thom was more likely to be drinking snakebite and black down the students union rather than paying his dues (and necking pills) at the coal face of rave.

His current fascination with electronic music (Burial, Mode Selekta, Jamie XX, Caribou, Flying Lotus etc) has of course dramatically impacted the music, most recently with King Of Limbs. It’s not a disappointing album but it is a bit too glitchy lap top sounding to me – listening to it it almost makes the rest of the band seem redundant. I can’t help feeling it’s a bit wispy and too ethereal, unlikely to stand the test of time. Of course I appreciate not every album is going to be an era defining classic like OK Computer. And I do appreciate their regular output and as artists – well mainly Thom – they’re just releasing the music they make. But as I said I think it would be a good time for more of a guitar driven, organic instrument sound?

Kid A was the first ‘electronic’ album. It was dramatically brave for the biggest band in the world who had just released arguably the best album of the 90s (OK Computer) to release a synth driven album of electronica. And then follow it with another – Amnesiac. But the nerve paid off and the fans followed. Both albums are classics and have stood the test of time of repeated listening. But come on Thom et al, let’s blow the dust of those guitars and start strumming? And if you release it as a ‘pay what you want’ I’d definitely sling you some extra coinage.

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