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King of Limbs

The King of Limbs

3.5 9
by Radiohead

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After a brief return to earth to deliver the tart, focused In Rainbows, Radiohead drift back into the ether with The King of Limbs. Like In Rainbows before it, the actuality of The King of Limbs is purposefully somewhat obscured by the hullabaloo surrounding the album's surprise


After a brief return to earth to deliver the tart, focused In Rainbows, Radiohead drift back into the ether with The King of Limbs. Like In Rainbows before it, the actuality of The King of Limbs is purposefully somewhat obscured by the hullabaloo surrounding the album's surprise release -- announced for a Saturday release on a Monday, shifted to a Friday -- and in the case of KOL, such clamor is needed. Wispy and ephemeral, shimmering skin draped over the barest of bones, The King of Limbs doesn't deliberately lack a solid foundation, songwriting traded for sound construction. Masters of mood that they are, Radiohead digitally weave stuttering, glitchy loops of drums and guitars with real instruments, Thom Yorke's mournful moan and keening falsetto acting as a binding agent, creating an alluringly dour atmosphere. Despite a pair of intellectually funky moments -- "Morning Mr. Magpie" and "Little by Little," grouped together at the beginning, giving the album a slight hint of momentum that quickly fades -- this is rather monochromatic and not too far removed from the territory Radiohead began etching out with Kid A. Where that icy 2000 effort had the bracing chill of the new, The King of Limbs is familiar -- not commonplace, but carrying a certain inevitability as its eight songs slowly unspool. There are no surprises in the floating textures, no delight in the details, no astonishment in how the band navigates intricate turns: this is the sound of Radiohead doing what they do, doing it very well, doing it without flash or pretension, gently easing from the role of pioneers to craftsmen.

Editorial Reviews

Washington Post - Chris Richards
With "The King of Limbs," the band displays such confidence and grace in its digital-age fussiness, its hard to take your earbuds out after one listen. It all just sounds too luscious. It's not a thriller, but it's an album worth exploring and re-exploring - until the next one drops out of the sky.
Philadelphia Inquirer - Dan DeLuca
With the eight-song, low-key, melancholy The King of Limbs, Radiohead has startled its legions of followers again.
The Guardian - Kitty Empire
Radiohead's works reward close and long listening; this dense and knotted eight-track album is no exception.
Daily Telegraph - Neil McCormick
If Radiohead are still a rock band, then no one has told them. This is something else entirely. The sound of the future calling.
MTV.com - Big James Montgomery
Though it's a minor album, The King of Limbs is still a major accomplishment — evoking emotions that powerful and primal isn't exactly easy to do.
ABC News - Allan Raible
No time is wasted. It’s all top-notch. Longtime fans have come to expect nothing less. Here’s a band that are always on top of their game and have never released anything even remotely sub-par. "The King Of Limbs" is no different. It continues the trend, no doubt finding its place as one of the best albums we are likely to hear this year.

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Tbd Records


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The King of Limbs 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
lansingpolitico More than 1 year ago
King of Limbs is a pretty short album so I'll try to give a short review. Thom Yorke has great vocal range, but he wastes his vocal talent in this album. It is very beat-heavy electronica and a disappointing turn for someone like me who hoped that after In Rainbows, Radiohead would continue on the clear, direct vocal melodies. I know Amnesiac and Kid A were heavy into computerized beats and muddled vocals, but this album barely has any singing at all. To me, King of Limbs is somewhat flat ethereal background music, which has its place, but I would have preferred something longer, deeper and easier to grab a hold of. This album would make a great soundtrack for an indie movie, but most of the songs don't appeal to me on their own. The Radiohead albums that move me elicit a deep and emotional reaction. The better songs either make me happy to sing along with("All I Need") or crawl into a hole and lose my mind ("Crawling up the Walls"). But whatever the reaction, the best of Radiohead's songs make me feel something intense, and I can't say that for most of the songs on this album. After five full listens, I'd say only a few songs seem original and the product of hard work and solid artistry (Lotus Flower, Codex and Separator). Although I expect to get several "unhelpful" designations on my review from Radiohead devotees, I would say the band should have waited until they had another 10-15 minutes' worth of material and should have focused on giving that material a strong theme like OK Computer or Hail to the Thief had. Those albums were mighty from beginning to end. They should have done a 2012 release that made us so fulfilled with its grace and power that we wouldn't care if the rumors of the apocalypse were true or not. Maybe it will grow on me with time. I didn't think much of Eraser at first, but now I enjoy it from time to time. 3.5 stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Once again, Radiohead has challenged it's fan-base. Many claim that this album is their worst and that it is rushed, however I believe they are not listening to it correctly. This requires and is a certain state of mind. Only then can one see that the songs are in fact focused and wondrous. Radiohead is, in all honesty, a very abstract band. They've adapted to the main stream for popularity. This is why when their true colors show, the mainstream either praises them, such as in "Kid A" or left flabbergasted. I advise those that didn't like this album to give it another listen...or a hundred more...because even after all the times I've heard this album I am still finding hew aspects and gems. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Schwa More than 1 year ago
Once again, Radiohead put out another polarizing record. Where some have said this is their least favorite, I find it to be their strongest. Some have said that they like the second half best, I happen to like the first half. To each their own. The album is on the short side , but that just leaves me wanting more :) This is music best listened to on headphones. I hear different things in the mix every listen. Definitely more for fans of Radiohead's more experimental side.
hi-ka-ri More than 1 year ago
wonderful new album from radiohead. even though it is quite short, only 8 songs, less than 40 mins, the music is really good, and i would rather have an album with 8 great songs than a longer album with 2-3 songs worth mentioning.
AzumaNinja More than 1 year ago
King of Limbs is an interesting, muti-layered album reminiscent of Kid A and Amnesiac. it's shorter than one would expect and hope for, but it is Radiohead and they do what they want. i enjoyed it from beginning to end, but was left wanting more. i just hope they tour again so i can see them for the 4th time. 3.5 stars, only because of the short length, otherwise it would get 4 stars.
WaitingForMagic More than 1 year ago
To me it seems Radiohead has thrown this CD out the door to satisfy somebody or something. It's the Kid A formula rehashed quickly. Has Radiohead lost focus? I keep waiting for something new and magic to burst out of this CD but it just doesn't flow that way. I'd love to hear a Radiohead CD born out of OK Computer, Hail to the Thief, and In Rainbows. In this way Radiohead could reopen their creative greatness and show us they care. A disappointing half hearted effort by folks capable of so very much more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Radiohead is one of three bands still working that I appreciate enough to buy an actual CD. Mostly i download mp3s, almost never buying a complete album. With that being said, the musical content of The King of Limbs left a lot to be desired. The artwork that came with the package makes the $13 worth the buy, however, so I wasn't completely disappointed. All in all, the music just isn't that interesting to listen to. Plus, the album length is less than 40 minutes. OK Computer continues to be the best of Radiohead.