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RADIOHEAD

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Radiohead biography
With every new album, UK quintet Radiohead reaches ever further to expand their sound, shedding their initial classification as an alt.rock band to become one of the leaders in experimental, challenging modern music.

Radiohead's official introduction to the world was 1993's 'Pablo Honey', built of simple songs that were introspective and sometimes melancholic. Garnering massive success thanks to a huge hit single, Radiohead turned a cold shoulder to the mainstream and recorded 'The Bends', which, while still firmly in the modern-rock mold, didn't make concessions to the mainstream's expectations. Experimentation and arrangements began to blossom on this album, but only hinted at their next phase. 'OK Computer' was released in 1997 and took the world by storm, alienating some older fans while gaining a slew of new fans from all walks of musical life. This album turned the idea of the modern rock album on its head, utilizing a vast array of sounds, touching on everything from '70s progressive rock to the emerging techno/electronica movement, strengthened with a rather grandiose production job. It was an ambitious, adventurous work that will hold up decades from now. Despite spawning several hit singles, it was an immense chunk of diversity that showed Radiohead were going to be an unpredictable entity in the ensuing years.

To their credit, the band did not rest on their laurels as the mainstream's darling art rock band, pushing the envelope much further upon the release of 2000's 'Kid A'. An angular, sometimes difficult work, 'Kid A' was a perplexing shift in direction. It sometimes sounds like a band running riot in a musical equipment warehouse/museum, such is its wide array of tones and sonic dexterity. Songs become anti-songs, and you never know what's waiting around the corner. Capitalizing on this newfound freedom to go anywhere with their music, the band released 'Amnesiac' a year later, often looked at as the companion piece to 'Kid A'. 'Amnesiac' mirrored the approach of 'Kid A' while holding up strongly in its own right.

2003 brought the band's sixth studio album, 'Hail To The Thief', a 14-song monster that seemed to be the culmination of everything that came before it, with a firm eye toward a number of new realms. With a seemingly limitless arsenal of ideas and the electronic toys to make those ideas become reality, the future sound of Radiohead is an open field for them to play upon, to the delight of their diverse group of...
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OK ComputerOK Computer
Parlophone 1997
Audio CD$3.66
$0.01 (used)
In Rainbows [Vinyl]In Rainbows [Vinyl]
Ato Records 2008
Vinyl$13.51
$54.83 (used)
Kid A (2-10Kid A (2-10" LPs) [Vinyl]
Limited Edition
Parlophone 2008
Vinyl$15.64
$17.91 (used)
The BendsThe Bends
Parlophone 1995
Audio CD$4.01
$0.01 (used)
The King of LimbsThe King of Limbs
TBD Records 2011
Audio CD$4.41
$3.22 (used)
AmnesiacAmnesiac
Parlophone 2001
Audio CD$3.16
$0.01 (used)
Hail to the Thief [Vinyl]Hail to the Thief [Vinyl]
Limited Edition
Parlophone 2008
Vinyl$20.88
$20.96 (used)
Pablo HoneyPablo Honey
Import
Parlophone 1993
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5 Album Set5 Album Set
Box set · Import
101 DISTRIBUTION 2012
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Airbag/How Am I Driving? [EP] [Limited Edition]Airbag/How Am I Driving? [EP] [Limited Edition]
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$0.01 (used)
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RADIOHEAD shows & tickets


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RADIOHEAD discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

RADIOHEAD top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.50 | 241 ratings
Pablo Honey
1993
3.82 | 382 ratings
The Bends
1995
4.02 | 677 ratings
OK Computer
1997
3.92 | 526 ratings
Kid A
2000
3.61 | 295 ratings
Amnesiac
2001
3.42 | 308 ratings
Hail To The Thief
2003
3.78 | 390 ratings
In Rainbows
2007
3.30 | 225 ratings
The King Of Limbs
2011

RADIOHEAD Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.47 | 62 ratings
I Might Be Wrong
2001

RADIOHEAD Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.22 | 21 ratings
7 Television Commercials
1998
2.75 | 16 ratings
The Astoria London Live
2005
3.14 | 16 ratings
The Best Of
2008
4.03 | 13 ratings
The Kings Of Limbs - Live From The Basement
2012

RADIOHEAD Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.16 | 19 ratings
Radiohead Box Set
2007
2.80 | 17 ratings
The Best Of
2008
3.00 | 5 ratings
TKOL RMX 1234567
2011

RADIOHEAD Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.16 | 6 ratings
Drill
1992
3.32 | 41 ratings
My Iron Lung
1994
2.31 | 11 ratings
Itch
1994
2.84 | 13 ratings
Street Spirit (Fade Out)
1996
3.77 | 13 ratings
No Surprises / Running From Demons
1997
4.11 | 19 ratings
Paranoid Android
1997
3.77 | 35 ratings
Airbag/How Am I Driving?
1998
2.28 | 18 ratings
Pyramid Song
2001
2.77 | 15 ratings
There There
2003
2.31 | 10 ratings
Go To Sleep
2003
2.46 | 18 ratings
Com Lag: 2plus2isfive
2004
3.78 | 9 ratings
Reckoner
2008
3.57 | 7 ratings
Bodysnatchers / House Of Cards
2008
3.80 | 10 ratings
Nude
2008
3.69 | 13 ratings
Jigsaw Falling Into Place
2008
3.18 | 24 ratings
These Are My Twisted Words
2009
2.11 | 16 ratings
Harry Patch (In Memory Of)
2009
3.67 | 18 ratings
Supercollider / The Butcher
2011
3.64 | 11 ratings
The Daily Mail / Staircase
2011

RADIOHEAD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Pablo Honey by RADIOHEAD album cover Studio Album, 1993
2.50 | 241 ratings

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Pablo Honey
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by Chicapah
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'Twas back in '06 that I stumbled across this site while wasting time browsing the web at work. I was tickled pink to find that there were millions of above-average-intelligence-endowed human beings scattered across the globe who still revere the bands and artists that I intently listened to in the 60s and70s as much as I do. It gave me an opportunity to express my adoration for Yes, Genesis, ELP, Jethro Tull, etc. with others who would readily understand and appreciate the attraction they hold for me to this day. It also opened my ears up a whole new world of ever-expanding progressive rock I didn't even know existed by exposing me to a myriad of groups and individuals that were proudly carrying the prog banner into the 21st century. One band that I'd been curious about was Radiohead. When their 3rd album was nominated for the Grammy's Album of the Year award I remember feeling a little embarrassed that I had absolutely no clue what they were about. When I saw that a host of respectable folks on P.A. considered them somewhat proggy and had penned favorable reviews about their work I sprang for a copy of "OK Computer" and slapped on the headphones.

Now I may be getting old but I'm no fogy. I like off-the-wall, discombobulating artistic endeavors as much as the next progger. I find Zappa's freak outs, King Crimson's eclectic excursions and Gentle Giant's strange concoctions (just to name a few purveyors of that ilk) delightful more often than not so something being labeled as unconventional will never keep me from approaching it with an open mind. Anywho, I must've listened to that record a dozen times just to make sure that I wasn't missing something vital but nothing changed my bottom line. As much as I wanted to like it, I hated it. I won't belabor the point but if you really want to know my opinion of it look up my brief, exasperated review. Whatever it was that drew other proggers in was repelling me like a spray of mace. I just didn't "get it" so I decided to live and let live and explore other prog fields for hidden gemstones (like what I found in Porcupine Tree and the Flower Kings). A year or so ago I was gifted most of Radiohead's catalog of music but those recordings just sat there unmolested until recently. Since the group is still around it occurred to me that maybe Radiohead and I just got off on the wrong foot and I should make an attempt to start our relationship over from scratch. After 7 years of ignoring them I decided to listen to their initial offerings with an unbiased mindset, starting with their debut, "Pablo Honey."

The opening song, "You," was a pleasant surprise. I was immediately intrigued by the 23/4 pattern (three measures of 6 and one of 5) and the edgy but full guitar tones. Thom Yorke's vocal style reminded me of Elvis Costello's so, being a fan of that man's early material, I dug what I was hearing. It's a good tune. "Creep" is next. I've always liked the self-deprecating honesty in the lyrical content and Yorke's impassioned delivery. Jonny Greenwood's brittle guitar sound betrays an underlying anger that has consistently distinguished this number as being extraordinary. Suddenly bringing a piano in at the end is genius. "How Do You" follows and it's a short-lived rocker that sports a punkish glam aura aka David Bowie from two decades earlier. An homage, perhaps? "Stop Whispering" is a highlight. I admire the unembellished production that surrounds it because it allows them to be exactly who they are. Thom's singing is on a par with Bono here while the song steadily gains intensity as it goes along. "Thinking About You" is another good one. Its stereo acoustic guitar attack is a nice change of pace and I detect a slight Tom Petty vibe running through it. It, too, is brief in duration but Yorke says all he needs to say and then closes the curtain without unnecessary ado.

On "Anyone Can Play Guitar" Nirvana's pungent grunge aroma is evident but filtered through a British sieve. Thom's enthusiastic sarcasm adds grit. "Ripcord" is next and it was at this juncture I started to grow weary of their predictability. I savvy that the distorted electric guitar motif is a sign of the times and that it puts a somewhat unique spin on their aural art but it gets to be too much too often. I can tell there's a progressive arrangement underneath the assorted noises but it's hard to decipher a purpose. "Vegetable" has another odd time signature. The verses are presented in 10/4 but once again Jonny's overly-aggressive guitar work makes it difficult for me to enjoy the tune's quirkiness. But then things get better. "Prove Yourself" owns a nostalgic folk rock hue that brings to mind some of the interesting experimentations that the Byrds were dabbling in during the 60s. Not quite but sorta. "I Can't" follows and I hate to keep bringing up other groups but on this cut either the Gin Blossoms influenced Radiohead or vice versa. I'm not complaining, though. I like straightforward, no-nonsense rock delivered with a dash of attitude and this song fits the bill. "Lurgee" is excellent. It's quite simple but it projects a slow-mounting atmospheric tension that pulls me right in as the poignant lyrics are aimed at the heart. They exit with "Blow Out," a tune with a shockingly subtle, semi-jazzy mood that entices. Their manipulation of the composition's dynamics makes this one of the most engaging songs on the album. The ascending "A Day in the Life" -like stacked guitar effect plants a true exclamation point on the finale.

Released on February 22, 1993, "Pablo Honey," aided greatly by the popularity of their dark single, "Creep," did pretty well for an unknown entity's first go 'round the block. While I have no doubt that it was their later, more unorthodox recordings that earned them the designation of being a crossover prog act, I found this album to be melodic yet brave at the same time. I have no idea what to expect on their sophomore effort but I'm happy to say that I'm glad I gave them another chance. This collection of tunes showed they had a respectable amount of potential. 3.1 stars.

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 The Bends by RADIOHEAD album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.82 | 382 ratings

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The Bends
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by geneyesontle

4 stars A non-prog masterpiece with very well written songs, this is Radiohead's best step. They became the imaginative rock band we will all remember for, and this album opened many doors for many alternative rock bands. Not only this album is full of emotion (prog bands, take notes), but it is very consistent (except for the three minute R.E.M-ish Bones). From the anthemic (The Bends, Fake Plastic Trees, Black Star, Fade Out), to the heavier (Just, My Iron Lung, Planet Telex) and the softer (High And Dry, Nice Dream, Bullet Proof, Sulk), they were better than any rock band around because of their innovative thoughts. So if you want to expand your horizons and you listened to other Radiohead albums, choose this one.

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 Kid A by RADIOHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.92 | 526 ratings

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Kid A
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by Zargasheth

4 stars

This was actually the first album by Radiohead that I heard, and I came to it by a rather circuitous route--the only reason I heard it in the first place was because of the Punch Brothers' cover of the title track. But it turned out to be a worthwhile experience. This album is a peculiar and overall unique collection of post-rocky, poppish tracks with a gloomy, eerie atmosphere and an emphasis on bizarre experimentation. The end result is impressive and, at points, terrifying. The only outstanding flaw that could be ascribed to it is an occasional lack of energy. Even the more active songs that should be driving the album seem lifeless, and just as strange as the slower ones. The one exception is "Optimistic", one of the album's standouts for this very reason.

The opener, "Everything in Its Right Place", is another highlight. Like many of the tracks on the album, it contains very few instruments, consisting of only a clean chord progression with a barely noticeable bass pulse and Thom Yorke's voice. But the sound on which the chords are played, shifting from a muted electric-piano-like tone to a buzz in a seamlessly fluid way, is perfectly chosen. The chords themselves also are effective--almost triumphant, in a way. The piece is also peppered with electronically modified clips of the album's title and other incomprehensible phrases, while Yorke sings regularly on top.

Following this is the title track, which sounds quite similar in some ways, but the smoothly shifting chords have been replaced with plucking, bell-like tones, and supplemented with drums. Yorke's voice is also heavily modified in this piece. By becoming even more minimal, this piece ramps up the eeriness of the previous one, but it also doesn't hold my interest as easily.

After this, the band apparently decided to compensate for the sparing arrangements with "The National Anthem". A menacing, heavy bassline is soon covered up by a wailing chorus of brass instruments, which end up filling out the rest of the song. Small pieces of the resulting free-jazz meltdown are interesting, but the whole thing stretches on too long to sustain my attention, and it loses the drive that it tries to achieve at the beginning.

The album calms down again after this with "How To Disappear Completely", which is a pretty ballad on acoustic guitar which gradually gets overtaken by other ambient synth noises, string arrangements and a repetitive bassline. The melody is quite simple, but more than any other track on the disc, this one has emotional impact; it very clearly communicates a sense of melancholy. The ending, in which the strings suddenly spiral out of tune, is very effective.

After this comes an interlude in the form of "Treefingers". This track is a very slow, instrumental, and completely ambient piece, with no melody, but rather subtle shifts between bell-like tones. This gets boring very quickly for me, and while it would be ideal in the position of background music, it falls somewhat flat on its own.

Fortunately, after everything grinds to a halt with "Treefingers", the album picks up speed again with "Optimistic". It's one of the most guitar-dominated pieces on the disc, but it still keeps a droning feel throughout. The chorus breaks out of the drone with an ascending guitar pattern backed by a perfect chord progression, and gradually other sounds begin to come in over the drone and leave. What really makes this song, however, is the chord progressions--while this contains much less sonic experimentation than the rest of the album, the sound is much richer and fuller overall.

"Optimistic" suddenly turns into the totally different "In Limbo", which is almost dreamlike--it feels like two different songs being played at the same time, as the guitar and keyboard don't entirely match up. As a result, the song ends up feeling a bit cluttered, although there are times when it rises out of the chaos with a guitar line, which helps quite a bit. After a while, I also get used to the whole mishmash.

The next track, "Idioteque", is a strange piece of almost dance-like music, with electronic beats and samples from a couple of other electronic pieces, woven together in an excellent way, so that Radiohead makes it their own. The various layers involved sink out and move back in unpredictably, and the melodies added on to the samples are also good.

"Morning Bell" has little besides an electric piano line and an unusual drumbeat, both in 10/8, playing another effective melody that alternates between the conventionally gloomy mood of the album and a more upbeat style, without losing its fluidity. This piece has the droning feeling that accompanies most of the record, but it occasionally falls away from its central note in a triumphant way, accompanied by the unnerving lyric "cut the kids in half".

The album's closer, "Motion Picture Soundtrack", is a slow, ambling progression powered by an organ lead, and eventually peppered with ethereal harp glissandos and voices underneath Thom Yorke's somewhat less ethereal one. This turns out to be one of the scariest tracks on the album, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that it is extremely minimal--the glissandos just seem very wrong.

But wait! Just as you're wondering whether you're going to get any sleep that night, one last hidden track comes in, consisting just of a single swell that sounds like the combination of an orchestra tuning up and a choir of angels descending. It's an amazing sound, and a fittingly unnerving actual ending to a highly unnerving album.

This is overall a very good album, and it does best when it's trying to either be atmospheric or creepy (or ideally, both--see "Motion Picture Soundtrack") Thom Yorke's voice isn't really the most pleasant to listen to, and as mentioned above the drive is sometimes lacking, but these are minor quibbles about a mysterious and sometimes disturbing album, that manages to craft amazing ambient soundscapes with usually very minimal instrumentation. Highlights include "Everything In Its Right Place", "How To Disappear Completely", and "Optimistic".

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 Kid A by RADIOHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.92 | 526 ratings

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Kid A
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by rogerthat

5 stars I love the time I spend listening to music and think of it as a pleasurable experience. But if what the music began to resemble a monstrous creature that, having somehow leapt out of the stereo, started creeping towards me slowly but surely? And if it was yet so enchanting that it paralyzed me to watch, frozen with fright, as it did so?

That weird description would aptly sum up my reaction to the first time I 'properly' heard Everything In Its Right Place. The first time I actually heard it, it sounded too unlike what Radiohead I knew and I couldn't penetrate it. When I did, I was, needless to say, mesmerized.

The repeating electronic loops of Everything in Its Right Place more or less sum up what Radiohead achieve with Kid A. It's electronic, but it's still alive, so much so that it's scary. It is just a repeating loop but it's not static; it feels like it's moving, all the time, closer to you. And powerless as you are to resist, you shall be sucked into another world, one of a cloning experiment gone horribly wrong.

What's interesting, though, is you don't really need to know much about the concept to enjoy this album. In fact, you may not need to try too hard to understand what on earth is Thom Yorke saying (or singing). I don't. It hardly matters, at least to me. Kid A portrays a powerful and hypnotic mood of the kind that's rarely heard in contemporary music. The kind that has labyrinths of seemingly infinite depth from which emanate strange sounds that you notice for the first time after having listened to the album several times..."oh, did I really miss this before!"

Everything....is hardly the only track that manages to achieve such a mesmerizing effect. How to Disappear Completely is not too far off on the creepiness quotient. I don't know whether I should feel sad for and empathize with Yorke as he sings, "I am not here, this isn't happening" or listen to the ominous sounds in the background and feel afraid. Once again, not a track that exhibits a lot of development in the conventional sense understood and favoured by progheads but its impact is profound.

Morning Bell is a little more conventionally proggy. It changes direction quite a bit and comes the closest to sounding like Pink Floyd of all tracks on this album....and it's still not a whole lot. It's decidedly a far cry from the Radiohead of OK Computer and is often even more effective than the best moments of that album...quite comfortably so.

Which brings me to the most amazing aspect of Kid A. It is one of the most incredible attempts by a rock band to reinvent itself. Very few rock bands have changed their style so drastically with their follow up to a (proclaimed) masterpiece and still retained an intangible something that's recognizable as their trademark. Robert Fripp achieved it by overhauling the line up of musicians. Radiohead did nothing of the sort for Kid A. Every band member found a role for himself in this new style and contributed to creating a radically different experience for the audience. While their execution is still convincing enough to make this drastic change of face work.

There's not a whole lot more to say about what is easily my favourite 21st century rock album. I don't think attempting to describe the tracks any further would make much sense when it comes to this album. Especially because the surprise at discovering that this is indeed Radiohead, the same band that made Bends and OK Computer, is a huge part of the experience. Magnificent masterpiece of modern rock, gets all 5 stars without hesitation.

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 Kid A by RADIOHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.92 | 526 ratings

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Kid A
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by Tom Ozric
Prog Reviewer

4 stars You know, judging by the massive hit 'Creep', RADIOHEAD were never going to raise any eyebrows within the Prog world. At least, that's what I always thought. Fast forward a few years and the band churns out an eclectic run of songs on an album which did raise eyebrows of music lovers the world over, regardless of genre preference, O.K. Computer. To me, it went down O.K., but that was it. Finally, having acquired the lovely double 10" vinyl package, courtesy of 'Skully'z Records', Bourbon St. New Orleans, and a fine little shop it was, I had to wait for my return to the ole homestead to give it a whirl. What a surprise this album was from the get-go. Surely it sports an 'Indie' vibe, but the clever song-craft and thirst for new sounds saw the band stretching even further out of their comfort zone and trying different things. One can most certainly discern the influence of such Kraut bands as CAN and KRAFTWERK ; it's there in the grooves, the rhythmic patterns and the other-worldly quality of the emotional out- pour of atmospheric sounds. Vocalist Thom Yorke has a soft, uber-cool falsetto voice which serves the songs well, keyboards play a large part in creating their unique blend of accessible stylings with a more personal approach. Had it not been for the lightly techno flavoured 'Idioteque', this would have been a masterpiece, as all other tracks have interesting elements on offer. Of the highest-of-highs, opener 'Everything In It's Right Place' hits the spot instantly, the eerie 'How To Disappear Completely' is out of this world, the instrumental piece 'Treefingers' is reputed to be made up entirely of guitars but sounds like anything but, and there's a superb tune with 'In Limbo'. Absolutely mesmerising. I was surprised that Yorke utilised an old Harmonium (or Pedal Organ) for the final song, 'Motion Picture Soundtrack', which rounds off the precedings with a timeless antiquity. A most excellent album of 4 stars. This is a fine example of what defines the 'Crossover Prog' sub-genre.

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 OK Computer by RADIOHEAD album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.02 | 677 ratings

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OK Computer
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by bb1319

4 stars 4.2 stars.

Hailed by fans and everyday music listeners as the "Dark Side of the Moon" of the 90s, this depressing, yet satisfying album is a fantastic one. This is the epitome of an album that needs to be played in order and straight through, in order to capture the full effect of Thom Yorke's gloomy and dark subconsciousness. Sometimes blisteringly dissonant and mood- dampening, and at other times melodic and inspired, this musical experiment truly expresses the word "progressive" in the truest sense. "Airbag" is a definite highlight, and "Paranoid Android" is my favorite track (actually, tied with "Karma Police" and "Electioneering" for first place). "Paranoid Android" actually uses a 7/8 time signature, for those of you who adore those types of things as I do. Not to mention that the song is structured in multiple keys and tempo changes and sections. It is progressive in the same sense that "Bohemian Rhapsody" (with which "Paranoid Android" is commonly compared to) is a progressive effort.

This album pushes music and tests out what is possible on instruments. Because of that, Radiohead represents something truly progressive, although not prog rock. All in all, a definite worthy album of any progressive rock fan, and fans of music everywhere.

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 In Rainbows  by RADIOHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.78 | 390 ratings

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In Rainbows
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars It might have stood out at first for its novel pricing strategy, but In Rainbows is also a strong album in its own right. Taking further Hail to the Thief's rebalancing of the equilibrium between the avant-electronic and mildly proggy indie rock sides of Radiohead's sound, the album feels like a summation of all the musical developments of the preceding decade of the band's existence. There's a fan theory that a secret double concept album can be heard by interweaving the tracks of OK Computer and In Rainbows; whether or not that's the case, I can kind of see why people might think that, because the album seems to show a new willingness to recapture that side of the band's sound which had been kept firmly on a leash for the albums from Kid A to Hail.

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 Kid A by RADIOHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.92 | 526 ratings

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Kid A
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by lazland
Prog Reviewer

4 stars In common with many other old style prog fans, I dare say, I lapped up the incredible passion and sheer progressive rock beauty of OK Computer, this on the back of The Bends, itself a loud shout to the world announcing the arrival of an intelligent rock band for the post- rock generation. I thought that Pink Floyd themselves had been reincarnated, and that the future of expansive, conceptual, spacey, progressive rock was utterly assured.

So, with the arrival of the new millennium, this came as a bit of a shock, to say the least. The dancy, trippy, Yorke wailing experimentation of the opening track, Everything In Its Right Place, the title track itself, sounding for all the world like Marvin The Paranoid Android on mogadon, came as a huge, well, it was difficult to describe.

Of course, all of this was done perfectly deliberately. I don't subscribe to the view that the band were frightened of being labelled the new prog alumini. I think it was all a little bit more subtle than that. Yorke, especially, wanted a change, and wanted the band to break the limits, and he found an especially willing accomplice in Jonny Greenwood.

This is an album which splits opinion more than most on this site. Ranging from genius to diabolical, I actually find it somewhere nearer the former. As with its predecessor, there are moments of utter, lovely, beauty on this album. The musicianship is awesome, and Colin Greenwood, especially, absolutely shines on bass, heavy and pounding virtually throughout, and on no track more than the entrancing Morning Bell, which has a bass led melody at the heart of more experimental goings-on elsewhere.

Of course, though, the main focus was on those strange vocals, and the almost complete absence of the younger Greenwood guitar that had so impressed us on the previous two works. I found Yorke's vocals, for perhaps the final time, to be fascinating here, before the new style started to grate on later works. I began, eventually, to really appreciate the almost psychotic experimentation and effects on tracks such as The National Anthem, which does, of course, bare more than a passing resemblance to early Floyd works such as Atom Heart Mother.

Because, at its heart, this is a band right at the top of its game pushing themselves, and refusing to be pigeon holed or stereotyped. Given that this could almost be a definition of classic prog artists such as Hamill/VDGG (and there is more than a little bit of that going on here), Crimson, and Floyd themselves, this is deservedly, I believe, a classic modern progressive rock album.

Of the more experimental tracks, my favourite is Idioteque, at first glance an electronic dance beat led track for the masses, but, again, repeated listens reveal it to be far more interesting and subtle than just that. The beat is hypnotic, and I swear that this is by far the finest vocal performance by Yorke ever. Yep, that's right, even more so than any of the more prog songs on other albums, because the sheer emotion of these vocals, and the exceptionally dark and cold portrayal of a relationship breakdown are utterly incredible. Not all dance influenced electronica is bad. On its own, I regard this track as a masterpiece.

It does settle down in places to something approaching recognisable. The incredibly mournful, and sadly stunning, How To Disappear Completely, is perhaps the best example. That it sounds most like tracks from the predecessor album is, I would venture to suggest, a good illustration of this reviewer's personal tastes, but those guitar bursts, combined with a delicate rhythm section, symphonic strings, and depressed vocals and wails are a joy to listen to. It is one of the finest tracks they have ever recorded, and is starkly magical. Optimistic is one of those relatively straightforward guitar led tracks that all would later hail as a "return to classic Radiohead" in later years, but, even here, the sonic effects, at times, take over and take the track to something altogether different.

This will not be an album to everyone's tastes, that is for sure. I do, however, regard it as the last great Radiohead album. It took an age for me to really appreciate it, but once I did, the time taken was worth it. In my opinion, it is the last album by the band to feature a collection of great songs, rather than just one or two gems amongst a pile of caterwauling dross.

If we had such a rating, 4.5 stars, rounded down to four, because, as excellent as it is, I do not think it is as strong as the previous two, which were both masterpieces.

It is, though, excellent, and highly recommended. Don't be afraid of the experimentation. It works here, and if you are a sucker for the harp, then Motion Picture Soundtrack makes it worth the purchase alone!

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 Hail To The Thief by RADIOHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.42 | 308 ratings

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Hail To The Thief
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Hail to the Thief was seen by some as a creative retreat to safer ground by Radiohead, and hailed by others as a return to guitar rock. Neither is really the case. Guitar rock had never left the Radiohead sound; even in the midst of the arid electronic wilderness of Kid A and Amnesiac, both albums included at least one really tight indie rock number. What is the case is that, having successfully branched out into the electronic arena, Radiohead eventually decided to bring the guitar rock aspect of their sound back to the fore on this album - but they blend it so expertly with electronic departures but this is clearly an evolution, not a regression.

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 OK Computer by RADIOHEAD album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.02 | 677 ratings

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OK Computer
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by Frankie Flowers

3 stars I've always liked OK Computer, but I don't think it's Radiohead's best album. It was a bit too overrated at the time of release and I'd have to agree with some other reiviews here, it does get self-indugent at times. It lacks warmth and isn't as sentimental as "The Bends". Having said that, it does have some extraordinary moments as well. "Subterranean Homesick Alien", "Let Down" and "No Surprises" are personal favourites and have a lot of emotion in them. These lads have a lot of talent and I saw them put it to use when they toured with this album. There's a lot of enjoyable music here, but the band cannot be compared to Pink Floyd. Three and a half stars.

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