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|Humphrey Lyttelton||Trumpet, Leader, Bandleader|
|Paul Bridge||Double Bass|
|Orchestra of Saint Johns||Performing Ensemble|
|Orchestra 440||Performing Ensemble|
|Thom Yorke||Guitar, Vocals|
|Nigel Godrich||Producer, Engineer|
|Jonny Greenwood||Arranger, Orchestral Arrangements|
|Stanley Donwood||Drawing, Book|
Posted October 1, 2010
What major rock band aside from Radiohead would open up their new album with a song titled "Packed Like Sardines In A Crushed Tin Box"? Who else other than Radiohead would end their album with a New Orleans-style jazz number called "Life In A Glass House"? The answer to both of those questions is no one. Maybe Oasis and U-2 are great at making catchy, anthemic tunes. Maybe Green Day and My Chemical Romance are good when it comes to edgy punk music. And we already know that Bruce Springsteen at the age of sixty still surprises us with the occasional down-to-earth, rootsy rock albums he produces. But what other major rock band do you know of that creates sounds like Radiohead? Sounds that are eerie, mournful, indecipherable and yet they stay in your memory, even if the songs don't follow the traditional verse-chorus-verse progression.
When Radiohead was recording their landmark 2000 album, "Kid A", they had enough material left over for a second equally brilliant record. "Amnesiac" was that record. Like "Kid A", the record is full of synth breaks, minimalist beats and ambient sounds---and when one considers how the group was almost pigeonholed into being the next Nirvana, their current style is actually refreshing to listen to. Leader Thom Yorke still sings like a man gasping desperately for air, especially on "Pyramid Song" and "You And Whose Army?". What is amazing about "Amnesiac" is how well the rest of the band responds to Yorke's muse and vision. Guitarist Jonny Greenwood is particularly fluid, playing an array of different instruments; if you thought Greenwood's musical score for the film "There Will Be Blood" was a fluke, just listen to this and you'll see how proficient he is.
The second disc of "Amnesiac" features some extra tracks that didn't make the final cut, most of which are very good, including an expanded version of "Life In The Glass House". There are also some live performances from 2002 which, like during the "Kid A" period, showed how well Radiohead can reduplicate that difficult style of the album into a concert setting. Some critics would say that for Radiohead to go from their 1994 single "Creep" to this album is almost like The Beatles going from "Love Me Do" to "Tomorrow Never Knows". For me, however, I don't know how to describe it. It's one of those disjointed yet compelling albums you know that it shouldn't work and shouldn't stick in your memory. But it does. It does so magnificently.
Posted November 4, 2011
No text was provided for this review.