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Radiohead - Kid A CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.95 | 720 ratings

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4 stars Now this is the business, unlike its predecessor. 'Kid A' takes electronica, a genre very familiar to me, and dusts it with progressive sensibilities to create something wholly other.

The opener, 'Everything in its Right Place', is masterful. It rumbles along, offering a disjointed pastiche of sounds and samples, sounding for all the world like an anthem of the turn of the century - ominous, heady, cacophanous. This easily tops anything I've heard of theirs. How the rock critics must have struggled to draw breath, their pens poised to praise RADIOHEAD's guitar-driven angst, when they discovered what they had was not what they thought.

There is a grab-bag of influences here: those familiar with the 90s electronic scene will hear both conscious and unconscious tributes to artists who made startling stuff and achieved a small fraction of RADIOHEAD's record sales. But that quibble doesn't stop this being an enjoyable, if challenging, listen. Those familiar, for example, with THOM YORKE's tones will wonder what he's up to in the title track. Everything's muted, understated, the world-weary sound adding a veneer of sophistication to the music.

It gets weirder. A drunken brass section dissolves into minimalist electronica; wistful songs pass by in heartbreaking beauty; techno tracks tangle and twist; without a single riff or lead break RADIOHEAD create a miasma of sound that drenches the listener in compelling music. This really is an absolute treat.

By no means the best progressive electronic record of the decade - that title goes without question to ORBITAL's 'In Sides' - this record does, however, demonstrate to the masses that electronica is much more than trance, and for that we must be grateful.

russellk | 4/5 |


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