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Radiohead - Hail To The Thief CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.44 | 445 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Just 'cause you feel it doesn't mean it's there

After gaining a reputation for being one of the world's premier rock groups, a cloud of mystery surrounded the possible directions that Radiohead's sixth studio album would take. The band has dabbled, and found success, in styles ranging from brit-pop to post rock and even progressive rock. After becoming recognized as being not just a popular band, but one that is highly acclaimed by critics, the pressure was on for this group of musicians to deliver with something memorable and creative. What Hail to the Thief brought listeners were glimpses of past styles that the band had taken and a successful fusion of the bands electronic-based post-rock and guitar-driven progressive rock. The result was a fantastic collection of songs which is sadly overshadowed by the immense works of the band's past, but is still absolutely worth looking in to.

With the opener, "2+2=5", the listener realizes that the band has evolved, again. Guitars are much more present than they had been on Kid A/Amnesiac, but the chaotic energy of those albums are still there, even amplified. The second half of the song, is almost like psychotic ramblings and is very well exectuted and absolutely sucks in your attention. What follows are two very well crafted, melodic songs. "Sail to the Moon" is a sure highlight with its lush atmosphere paired with soaring vocals courtesy of Thom Yorke. "Backdrifts" takes the electronic aspects presented in Radiohead's last 2 albums and applies it differently by incorporating more instruments and more structure. "Go To Sleep" sounds like it would be fitting on The Bends or OK Computer, and it works as a fitting single. However, the next song, "Where I End and You Begin" is easily one of the bands finest performances. Drawing power from its pulsating bass line, the song evolves in to a well-orchestrated piece of work showcasing both the band's post-rock elements and progressive/alternative capabilities. The result is phenominal and would be enjoyed by the vast majority of vistors to this particular website.

"We Suck Young Blood" is a bit of a low point on the album, except for an interesting piano passage in the middle of the song. It starts building up, but then reverts to the looming piano and vocals combinationthat it started out as. At that songs end, the listener encounters the electronic beat that leads to "The Gloaming" (which also serves as the album's alternate title) Similar to Backdrifts, it blends electronic backgrounds with typical progressive flair and is a memorable song. "There There" could be one of the most universally pleasant songs on the album, but it is far beyond what one might except of the band after hearing only their earliest works. The rhythm section gets to really shine on this song. One of the few songs that really has a "riff", this track shows things working for the band in their natural state, with very minimal electronic experimentation. Excellent track for fans of OK Computer who want to see an even more progressive side of the band. Fans might recognize "I Will" as the reverse of "Like Spinning Plates" off Amnesiac. It works as a short interlude type song and the vocals are top notch. Excellent use of vocal layering because the lead and backing vocals work really well. Both "A Punch Up at a Wedding" and "Myxomatosis" work well as songs drawing influence from both eras of the band. "Punch Up" is successful in drawing a good deal of its force from the bass line while "Myxomatosis" is more electronically based. "Scatterbrain" showcases the vocals above all powefully and it seems to mellow things down for the album's close, but this is undone by "A Wolf At The Door." This is arguably one of the band's most aggressive songs with... interesting lyrics... to say the least. It seems to be drawing from the paranoid and misanthropic themes from Kid A/Amnesiac but is still a successful close to Radiohead's longest album.

Another highlight of the album is the album art. Yes I may be a little biased towards this album art considering that it hangs right above my bed, but it's a series of really interesting paintings which depict the Los Angeles coast as bricks of words and phrases and it really captures the somber and critical mood of this album. It's not as conceptual as their previous albums, and the song to song flow isn't what it was on Kid A or Amnesiac, but it is, at heart, a collection of really great songs. Maybe traditional prog enthusiasts may have trouble with this album, but I feel that most people will find some songs on this album worth hearing several times. Post-rock fans may want to give this a listen, preferably after Kid A or Amnesiac. I believe that due to the fact that Radiohead are still pushing boundaries and not sacrificing quality of songs in addition to the album being well crafted makes it an excellent addtion to any prog music collection.

moreitsythanyou | 4/5 |


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