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AMNESIAC

Radiohead

Crossover Prog


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FloydWright
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Before I go further, I want to say that I do consider RADIOHEAD prog in the overall view. While I despise the "next Pink Floyd" comparisons I used to hear, I do think that's the element the two bands have in common. My two-star rating is not an attack against RADIOHEAD's status as a prog band. It's just that my reactions vary considerably to these albums. This one was an experiment that didn't go so well.

It worked on Kid A. It didn't work so well here. It's tough to say given that I consider Kid A to be the ultimate RADIOHEAD masterpiece if not one of the most seamless albums that I own, but it's unavoidable. Unfortunately, I cannot honestly say that Amnesiac is of anywhere near the same quality as Kid A. For one thing, cohesion is mostly lacking here--there is not really a flow from one song to the other.

The truly damning problem, however, is the fact that there are too many songs that for various reasons, I simply cannot stand, and no amount of listening or re-listening has changed that. "Knives Out", "Morning Bell/Amnesiac", "Hunting Bears", and "Life in a Glass House" simply lack any enjoyable factor in them. The latter three just plod along directionlessly and especially in the case of that awful remake of "Morning Bell", rather tunelessly until the end. I simply cannot comprehend what possessed RADIOHEAD to slaughter a song that worked so well on Kid A, and actually release the corpse to the public. "Life in a Glass House" isn't that bad, but is dull enough that I simply have no need to listen to it. The same goes for "Hunting Bears", which more than any track on Amnesiac smacks of filler. As for "Knives Out", while it's faster-paced, I simply cannot stand it, neither lyrically nor musically. I don't understand what anyone sees in it.

That isn't to say this album is without merit. "Pyramid Song", "Push/Pulk Revolving Doors", "You and Whose Army" (the end of it, anyway), "I Might Be Wrong", and "Like Spinning Plates" are all certainly worthy of mention, especially the utterly sublime "Pyramid Song", which is almost on par with the ultimate RADIOHEAD masterpiece, "How to Disappear Completely". Which is no insult to it...I'm not sure most songs COULD ever attain to such a high level. "I Might Be Wrong" is excellent here--particularly when the synth riff kicks in. It works far better here than in the studio (I've never understood all the raving and drooling about live RADIOHEAD, anyway, for the most part).

As I said, there are some very nice songs on this albums that I would definitely select if I were compiling a Greatest Hits of RADIOHEAD album. The trouble is, there just wasn't enough for me to keep this thing around, and I finally ripped the songs that I do like and sold the CD. Amnesiac quite simply lacks the consistent quality for me to consider it a good album. Knowing that Amnesiac is essentially a slapped-together album of outtakes doesn't help me any, either. And coupled with Hail to the Thief, which I also think is excessively "hailed" by some, given that it's not up to par with the three RADIOHEAD greats, I have to wonder if RADIOHEAD floundered or flat-out lost its touch after its three masterpieces in a row. Only their next album will tell.

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Send comments to FloydWright (BETA) | Report this review (#33955)
Posted Monday, January 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
frenchie
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars my favourite Radiohead album, i'm not sure why. This one is considered to be "Kid B", taken from the same sessions as the almighty Kid A, it is basically part 2 of a double album and a truely incredible project. Not to say this is better or worse than Kid A or any of their albums really, they are all masterpieces in their own right (some more than others). This one follows the same basic patterns of Kid A, fusing rock with electronica. Drum machines and acoustic drums are combined on this album like its predecessor. This one is easy to get into once you have got into Kid A, yet it is still slightly challenging. Radiohead explore the bold use of trumpets on this album, especially on the closing track. The production highlights this album as another oddity with lots of strange effects. This builds up a very technical and complex album, yet has a more accessable overlook than the previous album.

"Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box" kicks off this one with the use of clanging sounds and drum machines with an excellent mid section, it flows well throughout and is a decent introduction. This hints that this album is full of prog tendancies although the album is not prog in itself. This track flows into "Pyramid Song", which is a strong contender for the greatest Radiohead track ever written. A beautiful, simplistic piano piece with a building up atmospheric orchestra. Simplicity would be the key, but this is Radiohead, so they have combined this simplicity with lots of technical sounds. This adds to the song giving it a unique stance and making it truely beautiful and breathtaking. The track only has about 5 lines of lyrics which dont really make sense, though they dont need to, it is very moving, emotional and depressing yet breathing positivite life.

"Pull/Pulk Revolving Doors" is a decent track though i wouldn't be surprised if it got skipped. Its basically 4 minutes of glamourus electronic beats and sampling, showing off the technical production and complexity. "You and Whose Army" is a very gentle piece by this band is one of the best pieces on the album. Thoms voice sounds almost angelic on this album. there is a dirty production used in the intro to build up the uniqueness and effects. This track has a mellow piano build up with wonderful vocals that sounds pleasing to the ears. It then picks up with an uplifting melody and even better vocal work from Thom, notice also how the production effects build up too. This track starts brilliantly but the key to this song is in its build up and climax.

"I Might be Wrong" is the first real guitar based track, opening with some feedback and leading into a cool distorted riff combined with thoms ghost like vocals. This is a great piece to listen to and moves along very swiftly. My favourite part is the climax as on the previous track. "Knives Out" is the most ordinary track here. it isn't too weird and became the albums second single. This track uses more basic standards to writing a rock track with verses and chorus structure but for Radiohead this is a welcoming change, not something they have really done in a while. "Morning Bell/Amnesiac" uses the same structure and lyrics as "Morning Bell" on Kid A yet uses different instruments to produce a very gloomy and dramatic sound. I prefer the original track though this one works well enough to please.

"Dollars and Cents" opens with a lush sound even if the vocals sound very opaque. This track has a good build up leading into some speedy vocal work by Thom. This shows off a darker edge to this album. this piece really picks up during the "why don't you quiet down" part and shows off some excellent basslines. "Hunting Bears" is a weird guitar track used to keep the album flowing. A bit of a filler but i like it, nothing much to say here really, it neither drags the album down nor excells it, skip it if you want, its barely (or bearly) a vital track. "Like Spinning Plates" is plain weird! I like it a lot even if it enduces headaches. This is the pinnacle of strange production effects. The vocals are really good here. I highly recommend you check out the live version on the I Might Be Wrong EP. "Life in a Glasshouse" almost made it onto Kid A and was the main urge for releasing the rest of Kid A's tracks that got missed out onto Amnesiac and i am damn glad they did as i love this album. This track is quite progressive, lead by Thom and the trumpeteer. This track builds up and is another headache inducer. A brilliant close to a masterpiece of an album.

This isn't the most enjoyable or accessable album of the bunch but Radiohead are at their musical best here and the album works magnificently well. This one is more difficult to see the best of and probably should be one of the last studio albums you get, when you are ready to take this on you will experince pure Radiohead bliss.

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Send comments to frenchie (BETA) | Report this review (#33956)
Posted Wednesday, January 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
relayer66@yah
5 stars This album is arguably the most overlooked in their discography. I think the reason is, because it is their most sublime, perfect masterpiece. You just can't appreciate a slab of music of this subtlety with a couple of listens. The critics blasted it for the most part...and we all know what experts they are, and how much they love progressive music and its ilk. As is well known, the music was recorded during the same sessions as "Kid A", and shares many characteristics with that previous album. But for some reason (more time to perfect the mixing perhaps?) it works better. It would be easy for me to argue (if I wasn't so equivocal), that such music as this is the future of progressive rock. Before you start shouting, you know, those among you who are symph-snobs who automatically give 5 stars to the latest genesis-copycat bands' records, may or may not like this type of music. And yeah, Yes is my favorite band...but just remember that "PROGRESSIVE ROCK" embraces many other sub-genres than just symphonic progressive. We have Krautrock, RIO, Zeuhl, even fusion and many other genre-blurring examples that are appreciated under the umbrella of prog. So pull up in the shade, enjoy a nice cool smoke and an iced tea and appreciate the radiant brilliance of "Pyramid Song" and "You and whose Army?"...

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#33958)
Posted Friday, January 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
theinfiltrate
4 stars Ehh...not sure on this one. Follow the same path of Kid A but this time it seems more like "hit or miss". There are some great songs here, like "Pyramid Song", with its haunting atmosphere. Definately one of their best songs. "Knives Out" is another good one. The rest is not as good: "Life In A Glass House" is a "weird" "jazzy" experiment. "Packt Like Sardines...", "I Might Be Wrong", are all ok, and the rest...well it's not that good. Just "average". It's best song helps it get 4 stars.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#33959)
Posted Friday, January 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
arcer
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The 'madness' of Kid A reaches its apogee with this set - which prior to its release was actually billed as 'the songs' the were left off Kid A!!!

In reality it feels like the bits that didn't make the Kid A cut but which were close to the band's heart.

In that it suffers a little from all such releases - perhaps the band was too close to the music to truly be objective. Indeedm they themselves have said that they considered the Kid A/Amnesiac sessions to be the hardest working period of their careers and that they did become detrimentally (to the band) ensnared in over-analysis of every note and noise recorded.

However, despite some fairly unlistenable material here, there are gems. Pyramid Song revolves around a gorgeous piano motif, I Might Be Wrong is a great piece and Dollars and Cents is a genuinely spooky piece of music.

Like other reviewers I find Life in a Glasshouse tedious, the dissonant brass at the end of the song seeming superfluous and smacking of a kind of 'wouldn't it be great if we added...' over-reaching.

Amnesiac is best viewed as a companion piece to Kid A. With the exception of the beautiful Pyramid Song, it is not essential, though if you're a fan of Kid A, it deepens the experience of that record considerably.

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Send comments to arcer (BETA) | Report this review (#33960)
Posted Sunday, January 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
slipperman
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Considered the little brother of 'Kid A', and usually given less respect than that album, I'm probably in the minority of Radiohead fans who likes this one more than 'Kid A'. While some of the experimental aspects of 'Kid A' sounded like test-pattern blueprints for real songs, 'Amnesiac' is packed with fully-realized songs that retain their experimental edge while also possessing the approachable human quality of pre-'Kid A' Radiohead.

Electronic gadgetry is still the basis for their sound on 'Amnesiac'. The jarring quality of opener "Packt Like Sardines In A Crushd Tin Box" is like Kraftwerk meets 'Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape'-era Porcupine Tree. This fractured alien vibe dominates other tracks like "Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors" and "Like Spinning Plates". It's when Thom Yorke starts releasing his more emotional side that this album starts to shine. His convincing wail is smooth as silk on "Pyramid Song", a nice contrast to the subtle oddball time signature that gently jerks the song from side to side. Other high points might revolve around Yorke's vocal purges, but there's also plenty of amazing musical dexterity and chemistry from everyone else throughout "I Might Be Wrong", "Knives Out" and the inspiring "You And Whose Army?" The album ends with in an interesting sequence: 1) hazy guitar theme ("Hunting Bears"), 2) melancholy electronic phasing ("Like Spinning Plates"), 3) smoky lounge weirdness ("Life In A Glasshouse"). A fitting if disorienting end to the rollercoaster rides beforehand. 'Amnesiac' deserves to be judged on its own merit, and not in the shadow of the groundbreaking 'Kid A'.

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Send comments to slipperman (BETA) | Report this review (#33962)
Posted Monday, March 07, 2005 | Review Permalink
Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Not particularly memorable, but...

Amnesiac is not for fans of Indie music or Alt Rock, but fans of Can, Holger Czukay's solo material, and the more avante-garde will find plenty to enjoy both here and on Kid A, the two most creative and progressive albums of Radiohead's catalogue.

This is simply not the same Radiohead that wrote Creep, but a band seeking to obliterate the looming monolith of OK Computer that threatened to be a gravestone for the band. How could they possibly follow up a work of such magnificence, relevance and, as it turned out, influence. Every other band and it's dog started to sound like Radiohead in order to shift product, so the band were faced with a dilemma;

Create OK Computer 2, or choose the more artistically ethical path of attempting to create something new? Fortunately, they chose the latter, and we are left with two highly progressive albums that are not easily accessible as Radiohead's earlier work was, but challenging and very deep. Other reviews have exposed remarkable background information, so I will do what I prefer to do - just relax myself into the musical groove and pass on what I hear.

From the opening percussive sounds of "In a Crushd Tin Box", we can tell that there is an unusual sonic landscape unfolding before us. The deep thuds of the electro groove that drives the rest of the track recalls Can. Thom's vocals are oddly soothing, but Wow! the textures that open up on guitar and keyboards are like nothing else, and the odd mantra of "I'm a reasonable man, get off my case" punches through the mix. The music continues to unfold organically and increases in intensity and complexity of texture, with every detail in the music crisply marked out until the sudden ending.

"Pyramid Song" blows the memory of the previous textures away with a simple piano riff that attempts to be rhythmically neutral. Delicate washes of electronics occasionally wind their way around Thom's haunting melody. The entry of drum and bass is pristine and rhythmically complex, and more textural build-ups keep the momentum of the musical journey intact. Again, a lyrical mantra emerges; "Nothing to fear, nothing to doubt".

"Revolving Doors" catches us by surprise - the percussive sounds are massive, giving the feeling of equipment being pushed to the limits. Mmmm! Thoms voice is oddly processed, through some kind of vocoder, and again, we get a concentration on electronic textures, with some curious and fascinating alternations The rhythm section is worth noting, as it is very inventive.

"You and Whose Army" begins like a track from OK Computer or the Iron Lung EP, with Thom's vocals, delicate guitar work from Mr Greenwood, and slightly sinister mid-range vocal harmonies. The double bass changes the sound closer to a simplistic jazz texture, and Thom's vocals wander in a nice jazz style. When the drums enter, it does seem as if we're back in OK Computer territory, but Radiohead are ahead of the game and pull in the melodies nicely to concentrate more on the textures and natural ebb and flow in the music.

"I Might be Wrong" is just incredible and unpredictable - you just don't know which way this song is going to turn, and yet the building blocks are very simple. This is how to create great and original songs without resorting to virtuosic noodling in order to impress. Instead, Radiohead concentrate on taking textures, riffs and patterns from their own past - there is much about this song that reminds me of songs on "The Bends", but then subject them to a whole new treatment with electronic washes and the layering of instrumental parts.

"Knives Out" is much more conventionally in the previously established Radiohead style - but again, listen to the rhythmic invention; there's some really subtle stuff going on here. Thom's voice is given the full treatment for this track, and rings out beautifully - this is the first time we get the feeling of a "song" proper, as in previous tracks, the voice is used simply as part of the overall musical texture.

Through the rest of the album, Radiohead continue re-inventing their sound and style moulding melodies, scultping soundscapes, realising rhythms and throwing textures off the wall - Amnesiac/Morning Bell recalls "No Surprises" with the little xylophone motif, Dollars and Cents, a monumental track, continually threatens to erupt with the driving bass line and suggestive drums with controlled build-ups and pull-backs...

This is an album that rewards the patient listener - the listener that is not after a "hit" or to be bludgeoned by virtuosic impressiveness, but demands something a bit more special from music - something that recalls the past without blatantly stealing from it, something that looks to the future and enters the realm of the experimental without going into the more psychotic avante-garde - something truly progressive, rather than regurgitative.

There is nothing to not like about Amnesiac, and everything to like. It doesn't completely blow me away - and I don't want it to. It's not an album I'd revisit constantly, but one to return to every now and then to enjoy the refreshing change, and notice things you hadn't noticed before. Although Amnesiac is far more progressive than OK Computer, and a truly great album, a Masterpiece of prog should call me from the shelf every time I go to put some music on, telling me that if I choose something else I might regret it.

Amnesiac does not do that. In fact, it kind of lives up to its name - by the time you've heard it all the way through, you know you've heard something very special, but you can't remember any of it, and you don't really want to hear it again immediately.

Hence I do not consider it a masterpiece - but it is amazing and a great investment for any fan of Prog.

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Send comments to Certif1ed (BETA) | Report this review (#33963)
Posted Wednesday, March 09, 2005 | Review Permalink
smelliottheat
5 stars an overlooked masterpiece!!

radiohead aimed for something big, and they missed, wot they got instead was even better, wot this album lacks in consistancy, it makes up for in originality, its not that the musical genres in the album r new and original, its the way in which they r presented which gives the album its character!!

i shall now review the most important songs on the album

packt lyk sardines: brilliant opener, probly the most original opener radiohead hav done, it has a mellow atmosphere which sets the album up very well

pyramid song: the best example of confusing time signatures radiohead hav ever given us, this entire song sounds lyk its in some bizarre set of shifting time signatures, its actually a slow tempo 4/4 from start to finish, great piano playing aswell

knives out: great 'dream-like' video, the song reminds me of the shadows' music

dollars and cents: worth mentioning for the great egyption feel given to the song by the strings, not to mention the excellent singing

hunting bears: an eerie electronic mess (and thats a compliment) the short running time prevents it from becoming irritating, instead giving it a mysterious feel

like spinning plates: probly the most experimental song radiohead hav ever done, the reverse trickery is impressive, this is my favourite radiohead song, i cud ryt an essay on this song, but i wont

life in a glasshouse: a smooth jazz song about falling out with ur best friend over a trivial matter. its a nice 'unpredictable' way to end the album, u wudnt see this song coming at the endof the album having listened to the other 10 songs, which is wot makes this song the climax that it is, the song ends the album on a pesimistic note, which is very fitting, and once agen - great singing

all in all, this album isnt a storming monster album, its a brooding monster album, best heard thru headphones at 3am

i give it 5 stars and 9.5 out of 10

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#33966)
Posted Friday, May 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
store@aquariu
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.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#44800)
Posted Tuesday, August 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
fernandoallen
5 stars Definitely the most unaccessible yet compelling work by such a genius band. Basing themselves a little more into proto-krautrock a la Kraftwerk/Can with a more post- rock/antipop/incredibly depressive ambiental music/pseudo-psych-rock they achieve a sound similar to that of Bjork's least accessible side (a bit more aggressive and less electronica based) mixed with what the song Fitter Happier from OK Computer developed into an album would be. Don't think we have computer-talking throughout (except on Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors): we have remarkable songwriting here.

Furthermore this album hides a treasure beneath its initial repulsion. When I first heard it my reaction was along the lines of "...I thought Radiohead was good", yet after a few spins (as usual with the best music in my catalogue) the album grabbed on to me. THE MOST CATHARTIC ALBUM I HAVE HEARD SO FAR.

Run to the store and get it. You won't like it at first I guarantee, but after you listen to the beauty of the textures and the intrincate and detailist elaboration you will notice this masterpiece is going be right up there with your faves.

PS: The booklet is absolutely beautiful as well, stands as a work of art on its own.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#50186)
Posted Wednesday, October 05, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Amnesiac, brother or sister of Kid A, is another experimental album with great moments. However, it isn´t as good as its predecessor. The concept of the album isn´t clear here. It´s without discussion the most strange record they produced. The skip button is nearer than in Kid A but not so near as in Hail to the thief.

........in a crushed tin box (9/10): Electronic loops and a catchty """chorus""" , i am a reasonable man , get out of my case.

Pyramid Song (9/10): Probably the best song in the album. A very original rythm. A Masterpiece

----Revolving Doors(4,5/10): Well, As a game is interesting but..... there is no tune

You and Whose Army: (7,75/10) Great tune, with mysterious vocals. It ends too quickly

I might be wrong (8/10)- If there is one rock song in this album I might be wrong is the chosen one, guitar riffs along with a good rythmic section

Knives Out (8,5/10)- This one is classic Radiohead, Knives out Catch the Mouse. This was second single

Morning Bell (7/10)- Not as good as Kid A version , but a good tune anyway

Dollars and Cents (7,5/10)- Good bass. Political and Social content

Hunting Bears (6/10)- Nothing Special- Just a filler Like Spinning Plates (8/10)- This is "I will" backwards. When you hear it you feel death besides you

Life in a Glasshouse (8/10) - Another tender moment, a great end to the album.

As a whole: 8/10

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Send comments to tailsme (BETA) | Report this review (#62584)
Posted Saturday, December 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars After Kid A, they showed us Amnesiac.

So many people consider this album as the little brother of Kid A or something, maybe because after The Bends and OK Computer, they decided to experiment more with electronic music, the first step was something great, a masterpiece released in 2000 called Kid A, therefore seeing a succesful album, maybe they wanted to follow that mix of electronic with their alternative roots, as a result of that, one year later Amnesiac was released, and what have i found?

First of all i have the Special Edition album, which contains smething like a book, which is always weird, with draws and strange figures as usual, the cover art of the regular album is not the best, but it´s representative, who does not remember that "bear" crying?, the same way goes musically.

"Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box", the title is the first hint of a strange album, it starts with a bass line which is always remembered for Radiohead fans at the beggining of the album, this song is merely weird in the sense of how Yorke´s voic and drumkit are entering to the song, showiong us for the very first minute the electronic sound.

"Pyramid Song" (which it´s original name was Egyptian Song), maybe because when you hear Egypt you would probably remind pyramids and that things, anyway this is a classic song, not that beautiful as others, but with that piano landscape and mood is also memorable for any listener, that kind of songs that you could love or hate but never will be an average or "x" song.

"Pull/Pulk Revolving Doors", mmm i dont like this song at all, despite i like samples and Radiohead in it´s electronic moments, this song is boring for me, always the same style music and tones, maybe if you are a complete fan of electronic, you could enjoy it , but also you could say that this is nothing but a waste of time.

"You and Whose Army?", haha ilove this song, starting with the title, this is a very nice melodic song, with has Yorke´s beautiful voice (as usual), and a soft guitar soung hand in hand with it, how i love that lines... c´mon, c´mon, i think you drive me crazy, you and whose army?, maybe what i love is not the lyric, but the way as Thom says it.

"I Might Be Wrong" is probably one of the best if not the best track here, which shows us for the first time in the album that beloved Greenwood´s guitar, this song is not that electronic and take us back to the rockish and alternative part of Radiohead, with the always progressive part through it, here i love the changes because are always in the best place, i mean sometimes you can predict when a change comes, this time no.

"Knives Out", after a great song which is one before it, we have Knives Out making a couple of best songs of the album, this is again a song which shows us the complexity of the guitars, (remember Radiohead has 3 guitarists including Yorke), maybe you will remind a bit of Paranoid Android if you attemp to play this song, good enough for any strict listener.

"Morning Bell / Amnesiac", if you listened to Kid A you know what i am talking about, the new thing here is that is another version of the song, forget that drumming of the original, and think only of the voice and "air" as a background.

"Dollars and Cents" is another great song here, i think is one of that songs taht are always progressing despite looks like the same and repetitive way almost always, here i love tha bass making the rythm and the whole song, also the quality of the drumming is extraordinary, im sure that you might find this song interesting.

"Hunting Bears" is a short instrumental song whic offers us only some nice guitar sound, but actually is a slow electronic song, nothing special here.

"Like Spinning Plates", this is a tough one because i have to tell you that this song was only another song for me, nothing to be proud of and enjoy, but when i listened to it in the Live "I Might Be Wrong EP", i was shocked and amazed, a very different song beautiful piano replacing that poor electronic sound, so when im talking about Amnesiac´s version, i will tell that is only a nice song, nothing more.

"Life in a GlassHouse" is an excellent song to end and experimental electronic oriented album, this is originally a B- Side, so i think fans should know it very well, i love it´s emotion and everything, from the vocals and lyrcis, through the sax and melodic almost deppresive sound.

Well, after all i have to confess to you that this album has never been my favorite not even in my Radiohead´s Top 3, in fact talking about studio albums i think i like this more than Pablo Honey but that´s all. Ayway im not saying that this is a bad album , but definitely not the best, some great songs, some bad songs, i would give it actually 3.5 stars, so here 3!

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Send comments to memowakeman (BETA) | Report this review (#84414)
Posted Friday, July 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars It took me years to fall for this one. Like the weirdo you know since school days. You were a bit repelled by his strange look back then and never really found the time to get close to.

Amnesiac was released after Radiohead already proved their uniqueness and special quality. At the time OK Computer and The Bends were never away from my CD. But Amnesiac sounded, well too much of it. Took me two years to figure out what a masterpiece it is; their best so far. It only after you had this into-the-night conversation with that weirdo from school that you realize all of a sudden what a prince charming he is...

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Send comments to ori_by (BETA) | Report this review (#84836)
Posted Wednesday, July 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Well, this album starts good, with their best electronic track »Pact like Sardines...« but all other electronic tracks are so simple and not progressive at all. Singer's voice made me once again annoying. It is just too much monotone. He creates good voice effects in Pyramid Song, but the rest of singing is not my favourite. It is obvious that this is not album that made Radiohead famous at all. Too many electronic experiments put excellent sounding Radiohead's guitarist, and their wish to make something different should have been connected to more complex music. This is not complex work at all, and one can get a feeling of this as some EP, or hard fans-only release. Obviously, they did not care if some tracks will have any meaning, like »Pulkpull Revolving«. Maybe that this album together with album Kid A, with some tracks trown away would be radiohead masterpiece, and classical work of modern rock. They were just too afraid to make guitar-filled album because of its potential commercial succes, and turned to some simpler electronic musical toys. All in all, album is not quite bad, interesting to hear it, but not essential at all.

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Send comments to nisandzic (BETA) | Report this review (#87511)
Posted Thursday, August 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
2 stars 2.5 stars really!!

Keeping Radiohead's adventurous spirits going, this album delves/dives deeply in the roots of Thom Yorke's depression or "mal-être" all the way down to paranoia, alienation and simply bordering the mental sanity frontier.

This album is rather unlike anything they had done before but at the same time is a logical artistic continuation of Kid A. somehow hovering between post rock (more like the Tortoise direction) and a weird sort of trip-hop or acid-jazz, mixed in with the usual sound of Radiohead. A good deal of these tracks deal with his contradictions and his confrontations (and apparently not just his internal ones) and we are far from the impressive inventions of OK Computer. BTW, Brother Jimmy ( Caravan's Pye Hasting's brother) pulls in a few clarinet lines with his brass section buddies, but this hardly saves the day.

Too many sampled and techno-oïdal moods are preventing me to really appreciate much deeper (but I do think this might be shallower than Thom had originally intended it also), but I do confess I have a problem really caring for the problem of this eccentric self- centred songwriter he is. Thankfully, he keeps the album short enough not to have you pop it out of your deck.

As intimate and personal or even inventive of an album, I think this is too obtuse for the average proghead to invest time (and money) into this album, for the little potential rewards that repeated listenings might just bring to you. And although there are moments of beauty, the risk of driving you to the brink of mental insanity or even suicide is a bit too evident should you decide to get intimate with Thom's alienations.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#92039)
Posted Tuesday, September 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
Zitro
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars 2.4 Stars (in prog standards, for prog fans)

2 stars (in musical standards, for non-prog fans)

After two highly sucessful albums (Ok Computer, Kid A) where Radiohead developed their own interesting sound mixing rock with electronica, Radiohead seemed to have decided to develop their creative (Yet somewhat inaccessible) Kid A and make it even much more progressive. So, more progressive should be a good thing in a progressive rock world, but this time it isn't. This album is somewhat dull, hard to understand, and at points somewhat unlistenable. The music just reached a point that by being so obtuse and deep, I just can't really enjoy the music. In short, this album sounds like a psychological mess put to music, with questionable results.

Packed Like Sardines begins the album and sounds like a song coming from Kid A, electronic, hypnotic, creative, etc. Not really good, but it is quite listenable. Pyramid Song might make you think the album would be a complete masterpiece. This is possibly the most depressingly beautiful song I have ever heard and easily my favourite Radiohead song alongside Idioteque from Kid A. I can't put to words how beautiful this song is, you have to listen to it. Tom Yorke's vocals are at the very best, the keyboard arrangement and off-beat piano gives me goosebumps, and all the other instruments complement the perfect music flawlessly.

That's it, might as well stop the album here. When you hear someone as horrid as Pull/Pulk Revolving Doors attack your hears with the unmusical noise that makes up the rhythm. For some reason, the background noise reminds me of Porcupine Tree. You and Who's Army is as good as the opener. That means it is listenable. At least it sounds like music, with nice melodies and chords. I might Be Wrong , is an ok piece driven by a guitar riff, but it is probably too long for the amount of material it offers. Knives Out has a pleasant guitar riff, but the sound quality of the song is unbearable, and the song does not have much besides that guitar. Amnesiac/Morning Bell sounds very familiar, it reminds me of Sigur Ros but with a depressing tone. Not bad. Dollars and Cents might be the "Idioteque" of this album, with driving rhythms and desperate vocals but nowhere close as good. However, it is possibly the second best song of the album. An interesting thing to note is when a symphonic keyboard enters at minute 3. Hunting Bears is pointless guitar noodling for 2 minutes, but the next song Like Spinning Plates is a very paranoic and quote successful at portraying it, but as music, it is not that enjoyable. Life in a Glass House is, I must say, my 3rd favourite song of the album. It is a nice jazz song with the style of singing from Radiohead. As a result, it sounds quite unique.

1. Packed Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box (5/10)

2. Pyramid Song (10/10)

3. Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors (1/10)

4. You and Whose Army ? (6/10)

5. I Might Be Wrong (5/10)

6. Knives Out (3.5/10)

7. Morning Bell/Amnesiac (5/10)

8. Dollars & Cents (6.5/10)

9. Hunting Bears (2/10)

10. Like Spinning Plates (4.5/10)

11. Life in a Glasshouse (6/10)

Who Should Get this: Any fan of Radiohead's Post "Bends" period, especially fans of "Kid A". Any fan of the genre of post-rock (Godspeed, Sigur ros, etc), Anyone who wants to try to listen something quite obtuse and unusual.

Who Should Not Get This: Anyone who do not like Radiohead, Anyone who does not like electronic sounds. Anyone who does not want to take a risk over something inaccessible that might never click on them. Anyone on a tight budget who could just buy a more enjoyable experimental album.

My Grade : D/C

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Send comments to Zitro (BETA) | Report this review (#98298)
Posted Saturday, November 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars On the whole, very good. Very progressive. Some filler that is a bit worthless, I think some of the songs seem to be an attempt by Radiohead to be so non-accesible that they exceed completely overboard at just that.

1. in a Crushd Tin Box (4:00) Very cool vocal line "reasonable man" Great song.

2. Pyramid Song (4:48) Very eerie, I don't think it the best song by radiohead as others do but nonetheless quite a killer song.

3. Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors (4:07) Fabulous drum riff but isn;t something one listens to alot.

4. You and Whose Army ? (3:11) This one has an intentionally muffled sound which kinda works but kinda doesnt. It gets epic near the end though.

5. I Might Be Wrong (4:53) This one I didn't like at all when I first heard it, but its actually got a great melody and is something I look forward to hearing.

6. Knives Out (4:14) Very odd lyrically, the most straightforward rocker, very good at that.

7. Morning Bell/Amnesiac (3:14) Why is this one considered a bad remake? I find it very good, I like it alot.

8. Dollars & Cents (4:51) A very inaccesible but good one. You will grow to love it.

9. Hunting Bears (2:01) I dont really understand this one. Hasnt grown on me yet.

10. Like Spinning Plates (3:57) I dont really understand this one. Good idea but its not really working for me.

11. Life in a Glasshouse (4:34) I kind of like the brass but this one is a bit dull. You gotta be in the right mood for it.

It is a great album although I'm certain you wont like it on first listen. It takes quite a while but then it really gets great!

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Send comments to endlessepic (BETA) | Report this review (#98522)
Posted Monday, November 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars After buying the sucidal 'Kid A', I decided to pick up its brother 'Amnesiac' to see if it was any better. Not much. It's just a disjointed and watered down version of 'Kid A', which actually makes it one star better than that one. But still not recommended. I like the opening track 'Packt Like Sardines In A Crushd Tin Box', it's not as suicidal as the opener of the last album, and it's kind of mesmerising. 'Pyramid Song' is okay, but I don't see what the hype is about. The third track, 'Pulk Pull/Revolving Doors' appeals to me because of my interest in techno. I think it's a really neat song. The next cut, 'You and whose army?' is not great except for the piano ending to the song, which oddly reminds me of the acoustic piano on 'From Genesis To Revelation'. 'Knives Out' is a nice pop song, sort of depressing but alright I guess, it's probably the best one on here. The remake of 'Morning Bell' is not worth bothering with. I didn't like it in the first place, and here it's even worse. 'Like Spinning Plates' is probably the most dramatic piece on here. This one could make me cry. It does have that creepy suicidal feel to it, though, that I'm not too fond of. The closing track 'Life In A Glasshouse' is really weak and doesn't feel like a good closer. This album is not really great, but at least it's not creepy and foreboding like 'Kid A'. It's a lot more loosely put together and the tracks are a lot weaker, which in the case of the Kid A sessions, is probably a good thing. bryantm3

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Send comments to bryantm3 (BETA) | Report this review (#104303)
Posted Saturday, December 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Amnesiac is as sort of a continuation of the sound and ideas found on Kid A, experimentalist ambient noise, robotic cacophony, and distorted, repetitive vocal. However the negative aspects are numerous, the music is cold. It's distant, far away stuff and Amnesiac doesnt sound like an album but sounds more like a collection of B-sides and studio outtakes from the Kid A album, but there are a few truly remarkable tracks and this album is worth a listen, although it is a bit disappointing. 3.5 *

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Send comments to Quba (BETA) | Report this review (#104650)
Posted Wednesday, December 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars 5 Stars!

Okay, after that cheesy intro, let's get down to it. This album has enveloped me from start to finish every time I've listened to it. In short, I think this is one of the greatest, but sadly most overlooked albums of all time. People get some sort of impression that this is some Kid A B-sides collection when in fact, it is offering a different perspective in both sound and words to the story that Kid A creates. The catch is: the songs are better than on Kid A. Although not as unified as Kid A, Amnesiac is a challenging, yet beautiful collection of songs that don't seem to flow at first, but eventually, it all comes together.

First off, Thom Yorke's voice is top-notch throughout the album. His melancholy drone that many see as a negative aspect of the band is truly an asset to the macabre sound that this album provides. It's dark yet beautiful... haunting is a great word to describe it. Both experimental and catchy, this album comprises all that makes music special. The guitars have a bigger part on this album than its predecessor. Songs like "Dollars and Cents" and "Knives Out" provide a centerpiece for guitars on the album. However, the music is still very electronic. Keyboards and other electronic instruments are ever prevalent, the best example is opener "Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box" where the electronic line is extremely catchy, yet still contain the certain mystique that the band delivers.

As I hinted before, this album is more experimental and challenging than the rest of Radiohead's repetoire. "Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors" for example has highly processed vocals, odd ambient keyboards, and a booming rhythm section. These stark elements combine to form a piece that at first seem somewhat startling and odd, but eventually it clicks and becomes an important aspect of the story. Another of the more challenging tracks for people is "Like Spinning Plates." This song seems different due to the process taken in recording it. It's actually the sample backwards while Yorke sings the vocals backwards, then having the whole track reversed. Both of these song are hurdles for the first time listener both are "growers" and add to the mystique and aura of the album.

My interpretation of the album is that it's supposed to be a bit of a contrast to Kid A, conceptwise. Kid A seems to be about all of the ignorance, greed, corruption, and other seemly unavoidable problems with society. Amnesiac, on the other hand, is the people's reaction to such problems, such as denial (hence, "I'm a reasonable man, get off my case") or anger (pretty much all of "I Might Be Wrong"). Basically, on this album Radiohead offer something deep and artistic and portray it through highly memorable songs such as the beautiful ballad of "Pyramid Song" . There are is a lot of post-rock like qualities to this album such as the dynamic instruments with beautiful, subtle vocals and the creation of a mood that circulates throughout the whole album and unifies the themes present in the songs.

To me, it's somewhat surprising that Amnesiac has the bad reputation it does. The only tracks that can be considered weak are ones that are highly experimental. Some claim that some tracks are pointless while the fact of the matter is that every song is important in this concept album in disguise. The music is in top form and does not let down. I recommend this album to everyone, with an emphasis on fans of Radiohead, post-rock, and Art Rock at it's most experimental and creative. Through it's extraordinary use of melody and rhythm in additon to electronics and atmosphere, I see it completely fitting that Amnesiac be considered and essential masterpiece of progressive music.

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Send comments to moreitsythanyou (BETA) | Report this review (#107509)
Posted Sunday, January 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This surprised everyone coming only half a year after "Kid A", but it's a collection of leftover material from the same sessions. As such it doesn't hold together nearly as well. Even though it's not a "proper" album, it's a valuable insight into this band's period of huge creativity, and between the fluff it has its share of fine moments.

The itchy electronica, and relentless experimentation, which had replaced their guitar rock, is still the driving force. The clanking metallic noises of "Packt Like Sardines" firmly establish this mood. The most effective use of electronics here is on "Like Spinning Plates", where the wobbly backwards noises actually evoke the title. The taunting of "You And Whose Army" is enhanced with humming backing vocals. Along with the muffled strings on tracks like "Dollars And Cents" these effects help to create an old-fashioned vinyl feel. But "How to Disappear Completely" and "Motion Picture Soundtrack" were much better showcases for this style.

"Pulk Pull.." is a merely B-side quality techno instrumental (think "Fitter Happier" as a full track). "Morning Bell" is an interesting remake of the song on Kid A, which actually sounds bell-like. It's mildly too happy-clappy though. The previous version had a more powerful edge with its jagged guitar ending, and probably deserves to be called definitive. The guitar noodle of "Hunting Bears" seems rather a pointless addition.

However they were still not afraid to simply write good songs. With "Pyramid Song" they are back in familiar territory, with Thom Yorke's beautifully plaintive lament over lazy piano chords. "Knives Out" sees them return to their OK Computer days with a simple but piercing tune and sinister culinary imagery. "I Might Be Wrong" recalls "Optimistic" with its sparse rhythm guitar backing.

As Radiohead have always done, they end the album in style. "Life in a Glass House" starts off as another plaintive piano ballad, but Thom is soom joined by a traditional jazz band. But unlike "National Anthem", the horn-blowers don't go bonkers, instead they each seem to independently lament their own bluesy dirge, as if they had got quietly drunk in an old Western bar.

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Send comments to Open-Mind (BETA) | Report this review (#108057)
Posted Friday, January 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars KID B

This is their peak from their electronic period (I mean, since Kid A). As Thom Yorke said, this release and his predecessor are "siamese/twin brothers, separated at birth", in reference to the fact that both albums was taken from the same studio sessions... Anyway, this is, in fact, quite similar to Kid A, although more guitar-oriented and, to me, more depressing too.

For once in my life, I'm gonna make a "track by track" rating... Here I go:

1. In a Crushd Tin Box (8/10): As on Kid A, this isn't an impressive opening to the album... Still a nice track, with electronic drumming and synths.

2. Pyramid Song (10/10): Easily one of the best song of the album. Great piano work by Thom and excellent jazzy drumming by Selway... A very powerful ballad.

3. Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors (7/10): Nothin' special but an experiment with rare percussion and weird vocals by Yorke. One of the few low notes on the album (if not the unique)

4. You and Whose Army ? (9.5/10): A very strange song, starting with guitar and Thom's manipulated voice (with his hands!), and deriving into a chorus with piano and drums

5. I Might Be Wrong (9/10): One of the most well-known tracks, with an electric guitar bluessy riff. A little repetitive but an OK song.

6. Knives Out (9/10): A number which reminds me any track from The Bends or OKputer, but it doesn't make it poor or thing, it's simply impressive! Very depressing lyrics, and I also reccomend the excellent video clip.

7. Morning Bell/Amnesiac (9.5/10): If you're a moody guy, don't listen to this version of Morning Bells. No drumming, no synths... just guitar and rare arrangements that could make you feel rounded by ghosts...!

8. Dollars & Cents (8.5/10): A jazzy number, with confused lyrics... Not a highlight; nothing special.

9. Hunting Bears (8/10): This is an extremely weird tune, with only guitar lines and subtle backward noise (barking dogs?) Still great, despite the lenght.

10. Like Spinning Plates (10/10): Weird percussion, weird arrangements, weird melody, weird lyrics... GREAT SONG! My personal favourite. Listen to the live piano version on "I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings", not of this world!!! (Did you know: this song is the result of "I Will" (from "Hail to the Thief") reversed about twice or three times!)

11. Life in a Glasshouse (9.5/10): Superb ending, with unusual brassy arrangements, creating a very depressing atmosphere.

AWESOME!! FIVE STARS!!

P.S.: Not reccomended to depressing people ;)

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Send comments to sircosick (BETA) | Report this review (#124695)
Posted Monday, June 04, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Radiohead - Amnesiac

Radiohead's Amnesiac turns out to be nothing more than a continuation, or rather a conclusion, of the experiments that began on the phenomenal Kid A; however, while on Kid A almost every experiment was a unique success, which piled together to make one alarmingly great album, on Amnesiac, some of these experiments are surefire failures, while others are just plain mediocre. Still, there are certainly some very fine gems throughout this album, and it is certainly worth picking up for any Radiohead fan or Kid A lover.

Now, the music:

The opener is an example of the mediocre in terms of the experiments on this album; it is a mid-pace techno song that feels like nothing more than 4 minutes on meandering over a drawling beat, which is exactly what it is. Still, it serves its purpose as an opener, just not nearly as well as it should. The second track, "Pyramid Song" is much better than the opener, and has become a tagline of Radiohead fanboyism. It deserves the title, surely, as it is just that damn good.

"Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors" is just plain silly, and the finest example, barring one other song on the album, of the "bad" experiments on this album. From here, one might be thinking, that the outlook for this album is grim, and mediocre, but then.

It all picks up. With "You And Whose Army" the album glissandos beautifully into the dark, cataclysmic roots of electronic progressivism, and the results turn out almost as good as much of the material on Kid A: On "I Might Be Wrong", a heavy, "National Anthem"-esque bassline carries the mysterious, surreal vocals of Thom Yorke over the tinkering of all of his bandmates, and the album still continues to sail with high flags.

"Knives Out" is a beautiful song, another Radiohead staple of imaginative songwriting, with beautifully produced drums to boot. Then the album stutters with "Morning Bell/Amnesiac", which is extremely mediocre (but not quite as bad as "Pulk"), but this is forgivable when "Dollars and Cents" creeps along with its tangible tension and epic, stirring climax.certainly one of the obvious highlights of the album.

The last trio of songs is completely great, and despite the weak opening tracks and the offhand stutter that is "Morning Bell/Amnesiac", the album comes off as a success. "Like Spinning Plates" and "Life In A Glass House" together make up two of the best ending tracks I've ever heard, rivaling and almost defeating the ending tracks on Kid A ("Morning Bell" and "Motion Picture Soundtrack").

So, overall, the album is a success, but a blanketed one, hampered by a few really mediocre tracks which ruin any cohesion the album may have otherwise had. For this, the album scores something like a 7 in my book, which is but 3 stars on this site. Certainly good, but Kid A is vastly superior if you're looking into electronic-era Radiohead.

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Send comments to Figglesnout (BETA) | Report this review (#171115)
Posted Thursday, May 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars If Radiohead surprised everyone with their previous album ("Kid A") they didn't repeat it with this one.

For several reasons.

The mood and sounds of this album are almost identical to "Kid A". Mostly because the music developed here was written at the same time and can be considered as left over. And they pretty much sound like this.

There are some blunders as well, like the very weak "Pulk Pull Revolving Doors" which is another dull electronic experimentation. Yorke's laments are the same as well ("You & Whose Army").

There is little inspiration to be felt on this work and the fan might have a feeling of being fooled in some way. The band should have released this "work" as a bonus CD for "Kid A". It would have been more honest.

Anyway, I really don't like this album very much (but "Kid A" wasn't my cup of tea either). Just as "Optimistic" was my fave from their previous album, "Knives Out" is my favourite on this one. The reason being very simple: it is a true and good "Radiohead" song. It is so simple to be effective, isn't it? I'm just asking more of these.

There is of course a languishing one as well; otherwise this shouldn't be a Radiohead" album ("Morning Bell/Amnesiac"). But that's almost it in terms of good songs.

As soon as the band gets back to their electronics, I just lose control. Can't help. In this respect, "Like Spinning Plates" is unbearable to my ears. Two stars for this average album.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#173974)
Posted Sunday, June 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 'Amnesiac' - Radiohead (7/10)

It's a bit annoying when people simply pass 'Amnesiac' as just being a collection of 'Kid A' b-sides (even though that's sort of what it is.) It's not detached from 'Kid A' at all; I just don't think it's a complete subordinate to it's 'big brother.' In fact, I listen to this album alot more, and some of the songs on here, I like more than any of the material on the other one.

By why is 'Kid A' hailed as a masterpiece, and not this one?

I would say consistency. There's honestly some stuff here that really does sound like it's a b-side, whereas 'Kid A' wielded a strong sense of cohesion and album-sensibility...

But why doe's Amnesiac earn a good rating as well?

Because the songwriting is generally great, and it's only stripped of enough weirdness as to make it more listenable, but still progressive and unpredictable. Listening to 'Amnesiac,' I start to wish there were at least some songs on there that had a 'single' quality about them, so as to give a break from the strangeness and give the listener a mind's rest. Songs like 'Knives Out' and 'Like Spinning Plates' are full of emotion, and 'The Pyramid Song' while coupled with a bit of an annoying vocal performance from Thom Yorke, should appeal to prog fans.

'Amnesiac' will be compared to 'Kid A' until the end of time; theres nothing past that. However, on it's own, it is a relatively strong album with some gorgeous tracks, and deserves much more than being dismissed as a 'b-side compilation.' 'Amnesiac' is a companion to 'Kid A,' and nothing less. 3.5 stars.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#207701)
Posted Wednesday, March 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Radiohead is my 2nd favorite band of all time, just behind Pink Floyd. They are ambitious, inventive original, and they sound great. They can do pop (Pablo Honey), straight-up Alternative Rock (The Bends), and Alternative with a strong progressive edge (OK Computer). But where they really become prog is on Kid A and Amnesiac. They were both recorded during the same sessions, but they are still separate albums, or "twins separated at birth" as the band describes it. Amnesiac experiments with new and strange sonic territories, like the hollow, metallic percussion on "Packt like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box", the repetitive guitar line in "I Might be Wrong", the deep lyrics of "Pyramid Song", the guitar noodling in "Hunting Bears", the horns in "Life in a Glasshouse", and the list goes on. However, the album can have down points; Amnesiac is a great album, but Kid A does what Amnesiac does, except better. So if you are looking to try some Radiohead, get OK Computer first, then Kid A, and if you liked Kid A, pick up Amnesiac. Overall, Amnesiac is a solid three-star effort.

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Send comments to Neurotarkus (BETA) | Report this review (#223296)
Posted Friday, June 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Amnesiac" is the 5th full-length studio album by UK alternative rock act Radiohead. The album was released through Parlophone Records in June 2001. The material on "Amnesiac" were recorded during the same sessions as the material for it´s predecessor "Kid A (2000)" and released just 8 months after the said predecessor, so it´s fair to call them sibling albums.

Stylistically "Kid A (2000)" and "Amnesiac" feature a lot of similarities, which is only natural since they were recorded during the same sessions, and the tracklists for the two releases probably weren´t chosen before all material was ready, but there are differences between the two albums too that make them stand out as individual entities. Overall "Kid A (2000)" is a more electronic inclined release while "Amnesiac" reintroduces rock guitars to the band´s sound. "Amnesiac" is still an alternative rock album, featuring a lot of electronic elements though as well as elements from ambient pop/rock, rather than a more guitar driven rock release. It´s pretty eclectic too which the New Orleans-styled jazz rock track "Life in a GlassHouse" is an example of.

"Amnesiac" features high level musicianship and while there is a lot of focus on experimenting with sounds it´s still lead vocalist Thom Yorke´s emotional vocal delivery that´s predominantly in focus and ultimately defines the band´s sound. The whole thing is packed in a professional and well sounding production, which brings out the best in the music.

With "OK Computer (1997)" and "Kid A (2000)", Radiohead more or less revolutionized the alternative rock scene and also managed to bring a more experimental spin on creating rock music to a mainstream audience. It´s quite a huge achivement and therefore it´s probably utopia to think that they could continue releasing such high quality statements. My overall impression of "Amnesiac" might suffer a bit from the huge expectations I had as the result of listening to the two innovative predecessors. To my ears it doesn´t quite reach the heights of those two albums. It´s however still a pretty great and quite adventurous release by Radiohead deserving a 3.5 star (70%) rating.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#229206)
Posted Friday, July 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Reflection about "Pyramid Song" This album for me is through the songs like "Pyramid Song" reached the highest expression by Radiohead. The album in my opinion runs a lot about this title that was also taken as the soundtrack for several movies, this to the fact that awakens the listener a state of infinite, the title tends to bring in a psychedelic world where everything has meaning, where everything seems to be in the balance. Is important to discuss this song also to understand the various opinions, I believe that everyone can see something different in this song.

One another important song in tihs album is "Knives Out",this song creates a special atmosphere, that only radiohead can create, the voice of Thom Yorke seems to "A voice in memories of the past" maybe the stamp suggests that voice, just for long tones that seem to express anguish by the singer. My view is positive about album and especially to the two songs, because are the only ones to express emotions, infact, my advice is to listening only these songs.

(sorry for my English beginner)

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Send comments to zeparus (BETA) | Report this review (#231100)
Posted Tuesday, August 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars I consider to KID A-AMNESIAC to be one, 2-disc album. As such, the 5-star rating I've assigned includes both albums. These two albums were recorded at the same time, and the themes of both albums overlap and complement each other. I consider both albums to be so culturally relevant and important musically that, while we can quibble about individual songs, the albums really are beyond mere "I like it" or "I don't like it" criticism. These are albums that you deal with; and if you don't, it's at your own risk.

The two versions of "Morning Bell" on both CDs makes it clear that conceptually they are of a whole. Other songs act as doubles as well: "Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box" and "Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors" continue the sonic explorations of "Everything In Its Right Place" and "Kid A," while "Pyramid Song" might be the loveliest (and creepiest) song of both albums. "Hunting Bears" is a moody instrumental, perhaps the doppelganger of KID A's "Treefingers." "Like Spinning Plates," along with KID A's "Idioteque," may be Radiohead's most radical moments, and points toward new directions for popular music. Finally, the closer "Life in a Glasshouse" resurrects the big band horns last heard on KID A's "The National Anthem."

I find that with OK COMPUTER, KID A, AMNESIAC (and the albums afterward to a lesser extent), the band has crafted a musical universe that one doesn't merely listen to, but rather *inhabits* (in the same way Floyd did in the 70s).

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Send comments to jude111 (BETA) | Report this review (#247414)
Posted Saturday, October 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Sleepwalker
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Amnesiac is Radiohead's 2001 release.The album is often described as a collection of B-sides from the previous release, Kid A. This might be because of the musical style, which hasn't changed its direction at all since Kid A. The music is not bad in my opinion, and I actually don't enjoy this album much less than Kid A.

Amnesiac features some fantastic songs that are among Radiohead's best. The emotional "Pyramid Song" is a very interesting and emotional piece telling a dream Thom Yorke once had. "I Might Be Wrong" features a catchy guitar riff and a great chorus, which makes this one of my favorite Radiohead tracks. "Knives Out" is one of the album's singles and is one of the most accesible songs here. This doesn't mean that it isn't a great track though, and I can always enjoy it. "Dollars and Cents" is one of the darkest tracks on here. It features a good bassline with mysterious sounding vocals.

The remaining tracks are less interesting, though most of them are still nice. "You And Whose Army" is a beautiful and gentle piece and the final two tracks are good, though not among the album's best at all. "Morning Bell/Amnesiac" is a remake of "Morning Bell", which originally appeared on Kid A. This version is much weaker than the one appearing on Kid A though. Just like Kid A, Amnesiac features a bunch of weaker pieces too. The opener, "Packt Like Sardines In A Crushd Tin Box" isn't an interesting track at all, and the same goes for "Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors". "Hunting Bears" is another track that simply doesn't do much good to me.

Amnesiac is a slightly less good album than Kid A in my opinion, though the difference isn't very big. I rate this album three stars, as it's a pretty good album, though very far from perfect. The album is rather inconsistent and not as interesting as several other Radiohead releases.

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Send comments to The Sleepwalker (BETA) | Report this review (#254522)
Posted Sunday, December 06, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars What's this? Amnesiac? The most non liked Radiohead album ever? WHY. I will never get you Radiohead fans. You should all be happy that radiohead is as progressive as they are. And not in terms of "zomg lol 64/176 time 18 hour songs endless PETRUCCI SOLOS AAAH". More in terms of sound. One of the many bands out there that constantly is working to change their sound. Because, this album is an obvious departure from Kid A. More electronic and less all at once.

Packt Like Sardines in a Crush Tin Box is a major trip out. An extremely catchy little beat driven piece. The band extrapolates TREMENDOUSLY on their "weird sound". What really gets me is that there is no instruments in this song, just arranged sounds. And that can only mean that it's very likely that Thom Yorke created this song all by himself. As Amnesiac is the songs that weren't used on Kid A. That also means that the band hasn't really progressed since Kid A, but were making as out there music back then. GROOVY. (10/10)

Pyramid Song, is an absolutely scary track. I do not suggest listening to this song in the dark. Thom Yorke playing this is insanely uncountable piano bit. Then his extremely cold fringe like vocals and pure darkness in the lyrics. Then the drum pattern comes in, which is nearly as strange as the piano. But it adds more sense to the song as a whole. This strange starry collage of sounds all glued together by Thom Yorke once out of place piano playing. Brilliant. (10/10)

Pull/Pulk Revolving Doors. Ummm what is this I hear? Absolute MADNESS?? Good god. This song is absolute MADNESS!! I mean, the song is so coherent and retains this ambient keyboard sound in the back. Although the song doesn't develop very much, you have to give it respect. It goes where no Radiohead song has gone before. They really push their style to the edge here and I think they pulled off what no other band could pull off. Pure, unabashed musical edge. (10/10)

You and Whose Army? You think, you'll drive me crazy. Well. Come on. This song starts off with a "horrible production" as my friend gently put it. I don't see it this way. I see it as adding ambience and feeling to an already ambient album. And not ambient in the genre sense. Ambient in the feeling sense. The song itself is a war cry. I can see a lot of people taking much comfort in this song. Its saying "Here I am, and F*** you if you don't like me." Once the song begins to take off, it does so with incredible diligence. The piano and drumming is just perfect. This song is pure. (10/10)

I Might Be Wrong, but is this song not the best thing you've ever heard? The unusual keyboard intro just blasts me off into places I've never been before. Then the almost kind of cowboy feel the guitar and bass give this album the taste it really has. The first song to officially have a distinct guitar heard by the way. That says a lot about the kind of mind Radiohead has. The nontraditional and unconventional paint which Radiohead coats their musical Cathedral in. This song is just an absolute dedication to that style of thought. The ending also blew me away. I was so sure that it was a completely different song until the effects came in after the lone guitar. (10/10)

Knives Out sounds like a soundtrack to a suicide. Absolutely beautiful. I literally feel like I should be crying whenever this song is playing. It's truely a tragic depressive song. "I want you to know, It's not coming back. Look into my eyes, I'm not coming back." Beauty of the word. I cannot really find the words to express my feelings on this song. It's so pure and dashingly beautiful, that it sucks me into the song until I cannot even focus on the review I'm writing. Tahts the kind of song this is. (10/10)

Morning Bell (Amnesiac) is the only really "bad" song on the album. But not in terms of sound. Just in terms of the fact that it was on Kid A. To be honest, I know Radiohead are a little full of themselves after having such a huge success with Kid A. But this is just ridiculous. The song was great on Kid A and this cover is interestingly good too. It sounds so different, but it truly is the same song. Since the latter is such, I refuse to include it as a song on the album.

Dollars & Cents is a wonderful little groovy song, that almost sounds like something from In Rainbows. The orchestral backings can be out of place in other bands, but Radiohead always seems to make it fit. The song constantly shifts in and out of itself, almost like a lucid LSD high. One that is so pure and out of consciousness, that it brings itself in and out of the high. That is really a revolution of the mind. And this song is the equality of that kind of high. Completely unexpected and groovy all at once. (10/10)

Hunting Bears works itself as a sort of little guitar interlude. It could almost be the beginning of a song. It kind of is really, since the next song on the album is so awkwardly strange. Still perfect. (10/10)

Like Spinning Plates is such a great idea. It's backwards. It is an actual song the band recorded. Only they decided to make it backwards on the album. Live they play it forwards. So brilliant. The noises in this song are so out of this world. I can't even begin to explain the effect this song has on me. It's like the dawn of a musical apocalypse. So dark and destructive. A song that would be playing during cruel inhumane experimentation on a newborn infant. Or something like that. Real world applications aside, the song still retains a darkness which I have yet to hear in other music. But I think, darkness is the best way to portray emotion. Making a song about love, sound like this, would be the only way to top this song. It's emotionally brutal and singular in its careening direction which is, Extreme Emotional Distress. (10/10)

Life In A Glass House starts off so amazingly trippy. I wasn't expecting the direction it took AT ALL. I was expecting another Like Spinning Plates. But what they did do, works just as well. If not better. The kind of old school jazzy sound. Music played on a dark rainy night in Paris. Living In A Glass House can be interpreted in a lot of different ways. The album itself, as Thom Yorke put it, is as if somebody zoomed in on the cover of Kid A and found a forest fire, then zoomed in on that forest fire and recorded the sounds coming from it and turned those sounds into a musical theme. The song itself is like the end of an era, the era being Amnesiac. Again, with the extreme emotional distress, but this time with a sort of musical anesthesia. It's as gentle as it is dark. But an amazing ending to an incredible musical trip. (10/10)

Only Radiohead could put out such an amazing album. It is so dark and different sounding. The ideas made on this record are so out there, yet work in such amazing ways. It is really a masterpiece. I love this album so much and everything it stands for. The music is deceptive. Most people would immediately listen to this and spit it out like a bitter piece of candy. Why? Because they took the album song by song and separated it. How much sense does that make? Absolutely none. What would happen if you were to do that to a human being. Tear it apart and separate it from it working counterparts. Then lay it out and try and talk to it. People are so amazingly stupid. An incredible album like this, should be taken as a whole. It is an album to judged as an album. If the band wanted it judged song by song, they would have released it on 11 EP's. People need to stop being so superficial and picking and choosing which song is good and which isn't. If an album I listened to had a supreme atmosphere, but had one song that didn't fit, I would ignore it for the greater good. Get real.

My musical angst aside, this album is an absolute masterpiece. I can't express how perfect it is. It's the best Radiohead album. They pushed the envelope so far and it worked on so many different levels. 5 stars.

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Send comments to Treasure (BETA) | Report this review (#260179)
Posted Saturday, January 09, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars When I reviewed Kid A I forgot to mention the insane CD booklet. Amnesiac's, while not as elaborate, was also extremely complex and I remember as a troubled young man in 2001, lying on my bed for an inordinate amount of time staring at the art work and trying to find the hidden meanings, though I now realise they were probably never there to be found.

So it goes with the music- seems very portentous and deep but really this album's a bit lightweight. How come I give Kid A five stars yet the second half of the Johnny/Thom Show phase of Radiohead only gets three?

These songs are apparently ideas that were played with during Kid A but got edited out or unfinished when Kid A was compiled. They're not exactly cutting room floor scraps because they were finished/tidied/re-recorded once the band decided to go ahead with a second full release of Kid A sessions material and it shows because individually they sound very good- these are not shoddy knock-offs done after a few pints at lunchtime. The problem is not the songs but the album- there is little to no sense of cohesion or flow between these pieces. The tracks begin and end which is a big step down from the wonderful sense of completeness Kid A had.

Secondly, though this album contains three of Radiohead's greatest songs (Pyramid Song, Like Spinning Plates, Life In A Glass House) a lot of the other stuff is pretty meh. I like it, but it's not at all essential.

Packed Like Sardines In A Crushed Tin Box originally irritated the heck out of me but its cool, calm, disinterested vibe gradually grew on me- the lyric seems to be a fairly clear response to Kid A's reception. (But then You And Whose Army's lyric seems to be about Bush and Blair only that didn't happen for two more years, hmm.) Speaking of You And Whose Army, I like the start with the sort-of-sarcastic-but-also-genuinely-nice croony vocal arrangement, but find the latter part where it gets noisy ugly and unappealing. Pulk I quite like but it is too repetitive- they should have varied the beat more, made it more volative and less safe and they could have had quite an interesting piece there. From You And Whose Army to Dollars And Sense we find ourselves in a sort of almost=but-not-quite territory. I Might Be Wrong conjures up a nice atmosphere and has an interesting lyric but doesn't bring enough of a tune to the table to make it memorable. Knives Out, the actual band track on the album, is just a bit flat and dreary. The Morning Bell remake is alright but as other's have said, the Kid A version is definitely superior which makes this one hard to justify. Dollars And Sense's use of orchestra is well produced but not enough happens to make me get into the track.

Hunting Bears does feel a bit like filler but I like it because it sets things up nicely, sort of clearing the palate for the closing duo of excellency. I used to listen to Like Spinning Plates over and over. Random tape looping and scratching underneath a barely intelligible lyric from Yorke actually end up being absolutely entrancing, at least to my ears. And after something as advanced and experimental as that, of course they bring in a jazz band for a straight forward Dixieland track. No, really. Even after the use of horns on The National Anthem on Kid A, to hear Radiohead doing a Dixieland track was probably the biggest shock on Amnesiac but at least it works- and the guys they're using can seriously play.

Only thing I haven't mentioned is Pyramid Song which, like Like Spinning Plates, I used to listen to over and over. An extremely off-putting time signature manages the difficult feat of being maddening and addictive at the same time- I wouldn't envy Phil Selby when playing this life. The majestic use of pianos and keys, Yorke's delicate vocal, the swirling background noises... it's a very sad yet also uplifting piece and is a real jewel.

Overall though, a few high notes in a set that is interesting rather than good don't save this from the "only for people who want to hear some experiments" box as it isn't strong enough to cross outside of that box. No disgrace but most fans seem to agree that it ended the run of classics they had from The Bends to Kid A.

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Send comments to Textbook (BETA) | Report this review (#280644)
Posted Wednesday, May 05, 2010 | Review Permalink
tarkus1980
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I find it absolutely hilarious that Radiohead specifically promised this would be a more guitar-heavy (which it might be, but not by much) and less inaccessible album than Kid A. This was recorded in the same sessions that produced Kid A, and it sure as heck sounds like a Kid A outtakes album. I liked Kid A pretty much from the start, never considering it at all inaccessible, and I still had a very hard time absorbing this album. The general approach to the songs might be more or less the same as on Kid A, but the songs, on the whole, are much more abstract in sound and feel than the ones on Kid A, and that's to its detriment.

The album bunches all of the "normal" songs into the middle, in a move that seems a little odd to me. Despite how much I enjoyed the experimentation on the last album, these are easily my favorites of Amnesiac. "I Might be Wrong" boasts an extremely effective riff that plays well off of the various "modern" (circa 2001) percussion rhythms, and Thom delivers a performance that reeks (in a good way) of snide cynicism. "Knives Out" sounds just like a typical OK Computer track, with a great set of guitar lines and a hell of a dark vibe (it appears to be about cannibalism), and because of that it's not surprising that so many fans clamored for this track to make it onto a proper studio album. And finally, "Amnesiac/Morning Bell" is a reworking of the Kid A version of the track, as the arrangement now centers around slow guitars instead of keyboards, and it's quite nice.

The other eight tracks, though, are all over the map. Quite a few of them, as has been pointed out by some others, work better as ideas than as completed tracks, and don't feel quite done yet. The most obvious offender is "Hunting Bears," a two minute guitar (mostly) instrumental that basically keeps playing a single line (that's not that great) over and over again, and it clearly should have been left off the album. "Pyramid Song" works more as a mood song than anything else, as the piano chords and various synth wails sound pretty and sad, and largely cover up the seemingly directionless nature of the song. I guess it would help if I could figure out exactly what mood the band tried to convey here. Some tracks, like the opening "Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box," or "Pull/Pulk Revolving Doors," or "Like Spinning Plates," basically take a few off-kilter electronic rhythms and textures and build an entire song around them, with some singing that doesn't really have much of an effect one way or the other. I mean, I basically like these tracks, but I still find them a little off-putting, and I don't "get" them the way I do a lot of the Kid A material. I do like the closing "Life in a Glass House," with some effective and unexpected use of big band sounds, but the other two ("You and Whose Army?," "Dollars and Cents") more or less pass me by every time I hear them.

So basically, I still don't really know what to think of this album. My inclination is that I quite like the album overall, and that parts of it are great, but it still confuses me in a lot of places. I'd rather listen to this album straight through than The Bends, which is why it gets a slightly higher grade (to be exact, The Bends is a high ***, this is a very low ****), but I can't go higher than that. Fans of the band will definitely want this, but others should probably make sure they like Kid A a lot before getting this one.

PS: The "Hunting Bears" slot was originally supposed to be filled with a fantastic track called "Cuttooth," but was pulled out at the last minute for reasons I still don't know. With that track in the "Hunting Bears" slot, the flow and feel of the entire second half changes and improves drastically, and this becomes a more solid **** that could make a case some days for a *****. Alas, 'twas not to be.

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Send comments to tarkus1980 (BETA) | Report this review (#299394)
Posted Thursday, September 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars "This just feels like spinning plates"

"Amnesiac" has the unfortunate distinction of being the album to follow the genre-bending masterpiece from outer space that was "Kid A." The two albums were in fact recorded at the same time ("twins separated at birth" as Jonny Greenwood puts it), and I suppose if this one had come out first maybe everyone would have hailed it as the masterpiece and written off "Kid A" as the imitation. To say that this is an album of leftovers from "Kid A" is not entirely accurate, however. The band seemed to have intentionally left some of their strongest tracks off "Kid A" in order to achieve a consistent flow and experimental tone. As a result of this wise decision, "Amnesiac" in turn boasts the same experimental sound but still contains some of the gems of the Radiohead catalog, notably "Pyramid Song" and "You and Whose Army." The album does have a certain "this-all-feels-like-it's-happening-in-a-tunnel" sort of feel (lots of reverb all over the place), and this gives a strange sort of unity to a collection of songs that are otherwise unrelated. Watch out for "Like Spinning Plates" and its experiments with reversed audio. I'm not still not sure what's forward and what's backward there. There isn't a real punch or climax here, just a nice wash of sound, but a worthy effort nevertheless.

Also recommended: The "Pyramid Song EP" which contains 3 fantastic B-sides from these sessions. It's a shame they were not included on the main disc.

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Send comments to thesameoldfears (BETA) | Report this review (#299410)
Posted Thursday, September 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I actually prefer this one to the earlier Kid A, to which this forms a companion album (with many of the recordings here originating from the Kid A sessions). There's a curious emotional warmth and rawness here which contrasts interestingly with the icy cold distance of Kid A, there's one of Radiohead's best latter-day guitar rock efforts in the form of Knives Out, and there's some intriguing twists to the Kid A approach - witness, for instance, the cameo from jazz legend Humphrey Lyttleton on Life In A Glass House, providing one of many warm, organic touches growing over the cold inorganic electronic edifice.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#641586)
Posted Sunday, February 26, 2012 | Review Permalink

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