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Radiohead - Amnesiac CD (album) cover

AMNESIAC

Radiohead

 

Crossover Prog

3.59 | 311 ratings

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5 stars The highly anticipated companion album to "Kid A", "Amnesiac" should not disappoint those who picked up last year's release. Many are sure to write this one off as "more of the same" and to be sure, the production quality, as well as the electronica laden songs put this record neatly in the same ballpark as "Kid A." A common misconception about this record, at least around here, was that this record would be the album with all the "hits" that were "left off" of the previous release. Whether that was wishful thinking on the part of those who felt let down by "Kid A" or not, we're not sure. But you definitely won't find anything resembling a "Creep", "High & Dry" or "Fake Plastic Trees" on this record: nothing here is very radio friendly. And having said that, why is it that we still can't resist playing it over and over? Allan, in all seriousness, had even suggested limiting its play in store (at least while he's working) so that he doesn't become sick of it and no longer wants to hear it at home. While "Kid A" found Radiohead handling the studio-as-instrument process with occasional clumsiness, the group is far more comfortable with their self-assigned role as sonic innovators on "Amnesiac." The ability to balance all the really cool tricknological effects from the studio process and the immediate aural drama of a pop song is much harder than it might seem. My Bloody Valentine's follow-up to the groundbreaking album "Loveless" is now a decade overdue, and Tortoise's once promising amalgamation of indie-rock, dub, and jazz now stumbles aimlessly in Chick Corea territory.

On "Amnesiac" as on "Kid A," Radiohead finds inspiration in electronica, especially the hard-disk crunch of Lesser or Kid 606, and the slippages of melody and rhythm that occur in minimalist techno where there is no bridge, chorus, verse structure, only modulations and transformations of a sequence of leitmotifs. When applying electronica to their pop sensibility, Radiohead do not lace a pre-existing pop song with a slinky house groove; rather they write a pop song as if it were electronica. Thom Yorke's vocals meander through each of the tracks as if some piece of granular synthesis found on Chain Reaction. Which isn't to say that Radiohead are simply jumping on the electronica bandwagon. With "Amnesiac" Radiohead use the studio and its limitless resources to do much more; like emulating an early jazz vocalist like Billy Holiday in "You And Whose Army?", or including a seemingly incongruous New Orleans-esque drunken horn section at the end of the album for "Life In Glass Houses." As always, totally breathtaking.

| 5/5 |

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