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Crossover Prog • United Kingdom

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Radiohead biography
Formed in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, England in 1985

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 the...
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RADIOHEAD Videos (YouTube and more)

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OK Computer (2xLP) (180g)OK Computer (2xLP) (180g)
XL Recordings 2016
$20.07 (used)
In Rainbows [Vinyl]In Rainbows [Vinyl]
XL Recordings 2016
$14.47 (used)
The Bends (180g)The Bends (180g)
Capitol Recordings 2016
$18.41 (used)
Kid A (2xLP)Kid A (2xLP)
XL Recordings 2016
$27.43 (used)
A Moon Shaped PoolA Moon Shaped Pool
XL Recordings 2016
$7.49 (used)
Hail To the Thief (2xLP) (45 RPM) (180g)Hail To the Thief (2xLP) (45 RPM) (180g)
XL Recordings 2016
$24.99 (used)
Amnesiac (2xLP)Amnesiac (2xLP)
XL Recordings 2016
$15.00 (used)
Pablo Honey (180g)Pablo Honey (180g)
XL Recordings 2016
$14.22 (used)
XL Recordings 2017
$12.70 (used)
I Might Be WrongI Might Be Wrong
XL Recordings 2016
$19.99 (used)
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RADIOHEAD discography

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

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

2.52 | 349 ratings
Pablo Honey
3.80 | 547 ratings
The Bends
4.05 | 923 ratings
OK Computer
3.95 | 736 ratings
Kid A
3.63 | 431 ratings
3.44 | 438 ratings
Hail To The Thief
3.82 | 541 ratings
In Rainbows
3.28 | 334 ratings
The King Of Limbs
3.90 | 340 ratings
A Moon Shaped Pool

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

3.57 | 93 ratings
I Might Be Wrong

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

4.19 | 25 ratings
7 Television Commercials
2.76 | 20 ratings
The Astoria London Live
3.17 | 22 ratings
The Best Of
4.10 | 23 ratings
The Kings Of Limbs - Live From The Basement

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

4.00 | 22 ratings
Radiohead Box Set
3.27 | 25 ratings
The Best Of
2.91 | 11 ratings
TKOL RMX 1234567

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

2.63 | 14 ratings
3.38 | 61 ratings
My Iron Lung
2.59 | 21 ratings
3.10 | 23 ratings
Street Spirit (Fade Out)
4.29 | 28 ratings
Paranoid Android
3.90 | 20 ratings
No Surprises / Running From Demons
3.82 | 51 ratings
Airbag/How Am I Driving?
2.50 | 29 ratings
Pyramid Song
2.95 | 23 ratings
There There
2.62 | 18 ratings
Go To Sleep
2.48 | 33 ratings
Com Lag: 2plus2isfive
3.78 | 18 ratings
3.65 | 17 ratings
Bodysnatchers / House Of Cards
3.80 | 20 ratings
3.86 | 21 ratings
Jigsaw Falling Into Place
2.16 | 21 ratings
Harry Patch (In Memory Of)
2.96 | 30 ratings
These Are My Twisted Words
3.35 | 30 ratings
Supercollider / The Butcher
3.40 | 28 ratings
The Daily Mail / Staircase
3.63 | 16 ratings


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Bends by RADIOHEAD album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.80 | 547 ratings

The Bends
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Radiohead saw some major success with their first full album "Pablo Honey" and the major hit "Creep". However, they weren't about to release another album like that one, and they didn't want to be a "One Hit Wonder" band, which there were plenty of them out there. So, they re-worked their sound in order to retain interest. At first, their next album "The Bends" didn't do so well and dropped quickly off the charts. However, they opened for bands like "R.E.M" and this helped them regain their popularity, and over the years, this album has gotten the publicity and fame that it deserved.

For this album, Radiohead moved away from the grungy sound of "Pablo Honey" and even away from the alt-pop music of their previous incarnations "On a Friday" and "Manic Hedgehog". Their lyrics got more cryptic, their music became harder to define as they became more experimental, they started using more keyboards and the guitar more atmospheric and harsh. This resulted in their next step towards a more progressive sound, and you can hear the steps taken throughout this album towards that style. Many have even considered "The Bends" along with "OK Computer" as some of the best albums ever recorded.

"Planet Telex" opens the album and it has the distinction of being the only song not written before recording of the album began. It was written after a night of drinking and Thom Yorke made the vocal track while lying on the floor. The song has a much more electronic sound than most of the other songs on the album, and as such, is a foreshadowing of the direction the band would take on the next album "OK Computer". The overall sound has a warbling feeling to it. Even with the electronic processing, the music is heavy and dark and driven by guitars and a recurring piano riff.

The next track is the title track "The Bends". It is another heavy song about becoming famous and how everyone wants to be your friend, but will they be with you when you come out on the other side. This one is a bit louder than the previous one overall. "High and Dry" was the first single of the album. It is driven by a strummed riff and more calm than the previous 2 tracks. It is also written in more of a standard format. Even so, it is a nice track that grows on you easily.

"Fake Plastic Trees" is one of Radiohead's most famous tracks, and rightfully so. It is a beautiful track that even Yorke admitted that it made him cry. It is a statement against over-capitalism and how it can make everything colorless and lifeless and everyone wants to become plastic. I am sure most everyone has heard this one, but if you haven't, then you need to, it's absolutely beautiful and heartfelt, one of my all time favorite songs.

"Bones" begins with a processed echoing guitar and soon gets moving with a heavy bass line. This song is about the fear of aging. The verses are soft with a guitar-heavy chorus and Yorke starts to use his falsetto voice more effectively at this point. "(Nice Dream)" is a softer sound with strummed guitars and a lilting rhythm. There is a nice violin added to instrumental foundation. The middle section is a very exciting change of pace for the song as a wild guitar riff is introduced and things get more chaotic, then it returns to the original softness again.

"Just" is another great song about narcissism, or as Thom explains, a certain friend. It starts as a single guitar strum and then explodes into a somewhat noisy riff and immediately calms for the verse, while it is loud during the chorus. The returning ascending guitar riff keeps returning and ends up finishing the song off as it keeps ascending until it holds a screeching note and then falls apart to the single strumming riff again. This one is another favorite.

"My Iron Lung" refers to and is about the song "Creep" that basically kept the band alive before this album. They had that fear of being a One Hit Wonder. This has a great processed guitar riff that has a cool shaky feel to it. The song is also one of those that sticks with you. The noisy sections in the song allude to the loud sections in "Creep". "(I Wish I Was) Bulletproof" has a more experimental vibe to it and also acts to foreshadow the direction of the band. Yorke's vocals are on the mumbly side, but it really works well for this pensive track. There is a lot more electronic effects throughout this song, but it still retains it's melodic side, so it's not a complete turn to the experimental side yet. Thom's vocals as he sustains the word "bulletproof" are simply beautiful.

"Black Star" reminds me more of a track from "Pablo Honey", but it does have a better usage of dynamics. The lyrics deal with relationship problems and the things you can blame the problems on. "Sulk" was written in response to massacre at Hungerford, Berkshire, England where 17 people were shot. The original lyrics were changed by Yorke so that people wouldn't think it had to do with Kurt Cobain's death around the time the album was released. The album ends fittingly with one of Radiohead's darkest songs "Street Spirit (Fade Out)". Yorke considers it very dark and the band usually plays it at the end of their set list in concert because of it's darkness. However, it is still a beautiful and lush song.

So, "The Bends" might not have much to lend itself to being progressive, but it was a huge step in that direction. As far as the Prog Archives site goes, I have to at least consider it an excellent album, meaning it deserves at least 4 stars, but in a non- progressive world, it is easily a 5 star album. It is above the bar set for most alternative music in that it is more heartfelt and unique than most, and as such, it sets the bar high for an amazing and talented band.

 Amnesiac by RADIOHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.63 | 431 ratings

Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Radiohead recorded more than 20 songs in a more experimental vein than what they had done previously. These songs were originally going to be released by the band on a double album, or possible as a series of EPs. They eventually decided to release the songs across two standard albums because the music was thought to be too dense for most listeners to listen to in one sitting. Thus, "Kid A" and "Amnesiac" were born. "Kid A" was released first, and many fans and listeners were surprised at the sound that was being produced from a band that was considered to play guitar-based rock. The band definitely took a huge risk, because most of these songs were more electronic and experimental than what their listeners were used to. But people accepted the changes and embraced "Kid A" and this was followed up by "Amnesiac" where most of the remaining 20 songs were included.

"Amnesiac" as described by Thom Yorke, is a different way to look at "Kid A", sort of an explanation. It contains music that is highly experimental and even approaches the sound of Krautrock at times. Along with the typical guitar-based music, you get looped recordings, electronic manipulation, vocal manipulation, and drum machines. It was important to the band that no one of the members felt left out of the songwriting/recording process because of the new ways they were writing and producing music on these songs.

So while "Kid A" seemed more cohesive, this album does not seem to be as much of a concept that was evident in the previous album. But that's okay, because the style of the music is cohesive. I love the fact that the band expanded their horizons on these two albums, they were not content to ride off of past successes, and because of this, their fan base grew even more. It also opened up a lot of listener's minds to experimental, non-typical rock. However, "Amnesiac" is still a very misunderstood album. Many listeners skip past the more repetitive songs to listen to the ones the like the most. This ends up creating a lot of different viewpoints on the overall acceptance of the album. So hopefully shedding a little light on the tracks will help with the understanding of what the music was trying to convey.

"Packt Like Sardines in a Crushed Tin Box" starts out the track list with a more upbeat rhythm and with processed vocals from Thom. The rhythm is a tinny-sounding beat which sounds like someone beating on a pot. This one to me is a bit weak for a starting track, but it does work as a preface to what is to come. Lyrically, it's sort of a warning that if you didn't find what you were looking for previously, maybe you should try something different, which is what the band was doing here, going against being labeled as a certain kind of band. The next track is the amazingly beautiful "Pyramid Song". This was one of the singles from the album, and is probably one of the less experimental tracks. However, it is driven by piano and keys and it has a very strange rhythm. This is one of my favorite Radiohead songs, completely full of emotion and beauty. The orchestration sounds like someone pleading to the listener, and some eerie sounds soon come along, but only add to the yearning of the music. Out of nowhere, rhythm kicks in when you least expect it, but it doesn't detract from the song, it enhances like you wouldn't expect.

"Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors" has Thom's vocals processed again, and is a strange one indeed. The lyrics are based on a text about different kinds of doors as explained by a "Childcraft" book. The song itself is about choices, how some are important and some are not. Probably one of the weaker tracks here. It utilizes a looping track from much earlier sessions from a song that wasn't released until much later called "True Love Waits" as the sound backing the lyrics. "You and Whose Army" uses strange items like egg crates and etc. to create the effects of this song. This one is a politically based song about betrayal of leaders that had been trusted, specifically Tony Blair in this case. Much more interesting than the previous track and also more accessible even with the strange objects that were used.

Next up is the track "I Might Be Wrong." This is based on a blues guitar riff written by Greenwood, the band's guitarist, which acts as the foundation of the song. It is played under a more robotic beat, so is actually a combination of electronic and standard instrumentation. The lyrics are sparse but portray hope that a change for good is coming. "Knives Out" was another single from the album. It is less experimental and really packs a wallop as far as emotion. Strangely enough, the lyrics seem to be about cannibalism, but they are likening big business, specifically the record industry, to preying on the weakest in the human race. The guitar work on this track is influenced by The Smiths guitarist's style.

Next is "Morning Bell/Amnesiac" which is a more experimental version of "Morning Bell" from the album "OK Computer". Yorke said it was included because it came from a different place than the original and it just felt right. The lyrics are mostly the same, but it is a slower tempo accompanied by a chiming sound. "Dollars and Cents" is the next track. This one was originally over 11 minutes and was inspired by the krautrock sound. Yorke wanted Jonny to write a Coltrane-inspired track and this was the result of that. The guitar has a warped kind of sound and there is an orchestral passage in the background that has a far away sound to it. It is also a more traditional meter than most of the songs on the album. The next track "Hunting Bears" is a very sparse instrumental piece with a looped guitar sequence played underneath another guitar and synth. It acts as a link between the preceding track and the following one, but interesting enough to not just be considered filler.

"Like Spinning Plates" is probably the most interesting tracks on the album as far as experimentation goes. The song "I Will", which at the time was an unused track and would later be used on the album "Hail to the Thief", is played backwards as the accompaniment. Yorke liked the melody that the reversal of the song created, and he wrote lyrics to go along with this new melody. He then learned how to sing the lyrics in the first verse backwards, which he did. The backwards vocals were reversed and then recorded against other instruments, and that is why the first verse has that backward-sounding effect, yet you can still understand the lyrics. Kinda neat trick, huh? The remaining lyrics are sung normally, but many listeners wondered how that first verse sounded so strange. The last track is "Life in a Glasshouse" and is the only one written after "Kid A" was released. The band was unhappy with this song was sounding, because it sounded to much like funeral music. They contacted famed jazz trumpeter Humphrey Lyttleton, and asked him to listen to a demo of the song. He suggested they make it into a New Orleans Jazz Funeral style. They recruited his brass band to play on the song, and that is the sound you get. You still have that funeral march beat, but it sounds cheery against the bright horns. Humphrey's horn part is mostly improvised against the original track.

So, there you have it. Radiohead at their most experimental, and in my opinion, it works well. With only a few exceptions, the music here is very interesting, even ground breaking at times. It had a great influence, along with "Kid A" in getting a new generation interested in music exploration and opened the doors to other bands wishing to explore new musical avenues. I don't quite consider it a 5 star album, but it is close. There is just a slight feeling of not being as cohesive as it could have been, and a couple of the tracks are a little too repetitive and weak, but for the most part, it is still an excellent album.

 Airbag/How Am I Driving? by RADIOHEAD album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1998
3.82 | 51 ratings

Airbag/How Am I Driving?
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This was an EP put out by Radiohead specifically for the North American market to bridge the gap between the albums "OK Computer" and the more experimental and electronic "Kid A". It consists of "Airbag" which is from the album "OK Computer", and this version is the exact same except that it has the original ending, where the album version flowed into the next track. It is a harder song and very good, with some prog elements in the final few minutes going on while the main opening theme plays again.

The rest of the tracks are most of the B-sides that were recorded at the same time as OK Computer, but were originally left off the album. "Pearly" is another hard song, but the vocals are more reminiscent of what was to come on the next album. It quiets down half way through with Thom's falsetto vocals, then builds again. "Meeting in the Aisle" is Radiohead's first instrumental. It consists of a repeating echoing guitar and is later joined by orchestrated sounds. Very mysterious sounding yet nice. You hear early experimental sounds from Radiohead here, but no vocals. "A Reminder" is very experimental, starting off with an automated announcement recorded from the Metro station at Prague. A slow rhythm is established with shimmering guitars and Thom's vocals start. There is a slow build, but it remains mostly mellow until the last minute where guitars start to whine and groan and then eventually drop off just before the end. "Polyethylene Pts. 1 & 2" starts off with an acoustic guitar and Thom singing. This goes on for a short time before it abruptly ends seeming like a false start almost, then goes into the full band which carries it through the rest of the song. This one is an excellent track and would have fit on perfectly to the main album. This is also a fan favorite but is more rock oriented than it is experimental. "Melatonin" is a beautiful song driven by lush synths and Thom's voice. It sounds simple but is a very challenging song to sing because of it's jumps in range. Percussion starts on the second verse, but it is quite subdued. Last of all is "Palo Alto" which in it's early stages, was to be the title track from "OK Computer". It starts out mellow, but becomes more intense after the first verse with an instrumental break, and continues with that pattern. The bridge after the 2nd verse remains intense and continues through the next instrumental break, then quiets again for the third verse, but feedback is added this time. It finishes intense with the last chorus and ends with sustained feedback. This is another track that would have fit well on the main album.

This EP was nominated for a Grammy, and competed against full length albums. It also fulfills it's purpose quite well as a bridge between two different kinds of albums in that all of the tracks would have fit quite well on either "Ok Computer" or "Kid A". These songs are all good as stand alone songs too, and that is why this EP works so well. The only issue here is this, is it worth searching for? You might be better off getting the Collector's Edition of "OK Computer" which is subtitled "OKNOTOK". This one has an extra disc (I'm talking about the vinyl version now, which is amazing} that has all of these tracks plus 3 others previously not available; "I Promise", "Man of War", and "Lift", plus two other B-sides not on the EP; "Lull" and "How I Made My Millions". So, if you see the EP in the discount bin,, definitely pick it up, but it has pretty much been made obsolete by the Collector's Edition of "Ok Computer". Still, it is a great collection of songs that would satisfy any fan and/or casual listener and still merits a 4 star rating.

 Hail To The Thief by RADIOHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.44 | 438 ratings

Hail To The Thief
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by Chicapah
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Allow me to announce up front that I'm far from being this band's most avid fan. However, I greatly admire their staunch refusal to play by the music industry's rules. In this day and age when so much of what passes for modern music is inane and unimaginative drivel I find any outfit that dares to be different rather refreshing, even if what they produce ain't my cup of tea exactly. Radiohead definitely fits into that category so when I review one of their albums I try to remain totally honest while refraining from being overly harsh when I hear something I don't find intriguing or engaging. Just the fact that they're following their muse wherever she leads earns them respectability in my book.

The CD opens with '2+2=5', a track that confirms from the get go that these guys are sticking with their usual unusual approach to making music. They certainly don't sound like anybody else that I'm aware of. Like I said, I find their work interesting even if I don't completely 'get it.' 'Sit Down Stand Up' follows whereupon a haunting piano roils beneath Thom Yorke's rough but emotional vocals till energetic drums enter to pick up the song's languid pace and carry it into the end. 'Sail to the Moon' is next. It has a melancholy yet beautiful aura that surrounds Thom's gliding vocal line and the overall effect is suitably spacy. 'Backdrifts' features a noisy, rumbling synth opening that steadily evolves into a pseudo techno pulsating beat as the vocal weaves around the track's core motif. 'Go to Sleep' is a bit of a departure in that it exudes a folkish, Led Zep III styled aroma that grows ever more frantic in the long run. During 'Where I End and You Begin' funky drums pound away under a meandering, bass-heavy pattern and ethereal melody lines emitting from Yorke's anguished pie hole. 'We Suck Young Blood' is a dreary dirge that features a chain gang-like clap track that casts an even darker pall on the proceedings. There's a fairly odd abrupt interlude included that proves they're liable to toss a surprise in at any moment.

'The Gloaming' begins with what I'll characterize as the sound made when a phonograph needle reaches the end of a vinyl LP side and rides endlessly on the inner grooves. That could be just me, though. But it's at this juncture I get the feeling the group wasn't trying to assemble 'songs' as much as they were experimenting with what their various devices offered up to play with. Again, I hold their spunkiness in high esteem but there's a lot of hit and miss going on here. 'There There' brings out the jungle toms that establish a thick rhythm to accompany the chunky guitar chording and a subtle vocal performance. To their credit it does gather intensity along the way. 'I Will' is more traditional-sounding than what's preceded it but that doesn't mean they lost their unconventional mindset. Sinatra it ain't. 'A Punch Up at a Wedding' builds on a straight-ahead rock beat that plows through some strange vocalizations and harmonies issuing from Thom. 'Myxamatosis' sports a heavy, fuzzy riff and pounding drums that dominate in the background whilst Yorke warbles a plethora of his existential poetry. It climaxes in a nifty sci-fi splash. 'Scatterbrain' follows. I have to warn the reader that if you're searching for a lot of variety this album really doesn't deliver much of that at all. I sense they were in a pensive, surreal mood when they put this one together and they maintained that navel-gazing countenance throughout the recording process. As for this particular cut, it's consistently indulgent. Sadly, their free-form noodlings do become wearying after a while. They finish with the cool 'A Wolf at the Door.' Thom's rap-tinted vocal lines hover over a bluesy drum pattern and I consider this unorthodox song the apex of the record.

I've read where Yorke claimed they wanted to take a more 'relaxed' approach when they constructed this collection of tunes. Well, it's relaxed alright. Not a lot of excitement being generated. I would've enjoyed hearing a tad more structure at times like I heard on 'Kid A' but my hat's off to them for not being predictable. 'Hail to the Thief' reached the top of the UK charts and #3 in the USA and that gives me hope that there are some in the younger set that appreciate musical creativity enough to support bands like Radiohead and others that dare to color outside the lines. 3.1 stars.

 OK Computer by RADIOHEAD album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.05 | 923 ratings

OK Computer
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by mlkpad14

5 stars I'm proud to say that "OK Computer" is one of my favorite albums of all time, and that Radiohead is one of my favorite bands.

What "OK Computer" is to Radiohead is a bridge. Any material before "OK Computer" sounds nothing like "Kid A" and other albums and EPs after it. The actual album is somewhere in between - probably more accessible, too, than the before and the after.

"OK Computer" is to Radiohead what "In The Court of The Crimson King" is to King Crimson. Both of different eras and by completely different bands, the albums represent landmarks in their age. Sure, ITCOTCK was King Crimson's first album, and is largely regarded as the first progressive rock album... On the other hand, "OK Computer" is one of the most important albums of the 90s. It has given way to a lot of alternative and progressive rock, and it triggered a minor revival of ambitious concept albums.

It goes without saying that the album created a very pleasing atmosphere. Thom Yorke's vocals are timeless. Pieces such as "Karma Police," "Paranoid Android," "Airbag," and "No Surprises" shine on their own. On the other hand, "Exit Music," "Fitter Happier," and "Electioneer" elevate the album to new heights and act as individual bridges inside the album. Not a single track is out of place.

Radiohead's best album? That may be opinion... One of the most influential albums of the 90s to today? That is fact!

 A Moon Shaped Pool by RADIOHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.90 | 340 ratings

A Moon Shaped Pool
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Man is this one a grower. I went from not liking it after the first listen and mumbling to myself "this is generic crap", to feeling like a light went on after 3 listens, to being totally won over after 5 spins. I'm one of the few who loved the previous album "King Of Limbs" and was hoping for more of the same, so there's that. This album is full of depth and atmosphere with plenty of electronics, piano and strings.

"Burn The Witch" has this urgent rhythm of drums and strings as the vocals join in. The strings become more prominent before 2 minutes then fade back again. This sounds pretty cool and intense. "Daydreaming" is a top three tune for me. Man is this a sad and emotional track with piano and atmosphere early on before these quivering vocals arrive before 1 1/2 minutes. Check out the thick atmosphere after 4 minutes.

"Decks Dark" has a beat with some fast paced piano melodies as the vocals join in. It's fuller before 1 1/2 minutes when the vocals stop but they return quickly with more energy than before. So much atmosphere here. It settles after 2 1/2 minutes and this sounds really good. Love the bass. "Desert Island Disk" is led by acoustic guitar and a beat with reserved vocals. One of the songs I just couldn't get into. "Ful Stop" is my favourite song and it's because of that intensity and dark mood. The electronics and beat builds along with eerie sounds that come and go. This is head bobbing music and it's also quite spacey. Vocals before 2 minutes and they will come and go. Great track!

"Glass Eyes" features piano, strings and atmosphere as the reserved vocals join in almost speaking the words. "Identikit" is catchy with distant sounding vocals. I like this. Check out the guitar before 4 minutes! "The Numbers" is my final top three. Strummed guitar, piano, drums and more as the vocals join in. Nice bass before 3 minutes along with those soaring vocals. Check out the strings after 3 1/2 minutes. I love this stuff! We get a release of tension late to end it.

"Present Tense" reminds me of RADIOHEAD of old and the backing vocals later on add a lot in my opinion. "Tinker Tailor Soldier..." is relaxed with vocals, strings, atmosphere and a beat standing out. Sweeping strings around 3 minutes as Thom stops singing. This continues to the end and I like the electronics late. "True Love Waits" is one heck of a ballad I'll say that. A sad and simple piece with melancholic vocals, piano and strings standing out. This is so sad yet so meaningful.

I was reminded of the seventies several times when listening to this album and not necessarily Prog from the seventies either, but those moments really add a lot to my enjoyment. It's grown to an easy 4 stars and if it continues to grow I'll be back to adjust my rating. I'm really impressed.

 A Moon Shaped Pool by RADIOHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.90 | 340 ratings

A Moon Shaped Pool
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by tarkus1980
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Yup, sounds like Radiohead. In making this album, Radiohead dropped the charade of "we don't want to make full length albums anymore" (which I still somewhat feel like was an excuse for not bothering to fully finish King of Limbs more than anything), and the resulting product sounds like the proper successor that In Rainbows (now 9 years old) never really had. This is both an earnest compliment and a slightly backhanded one; it's nice to hear a collection of polished and meticulously crafted material that shows Radiohead playing to its considerable strengths, on the one hand, but it's kinda somewhat fascinating to me, on the other hand, to hear them continue to cling so closely to their preferred approaches in style and mood, on the other. As with In Rainbows, I don't consider this devotion to what clearly works as anything near a fatal flaw, but as somebody who hovers in the range of liking and respecting the band without loving it, I find myself once again slightly disappointed by this feeling of coasting.

One particular aspect that this album has in common with In Rainbows is that it contains recordings of material that the band had written many years earlier but had never recorded to their satisfaction. The biggest news along these lines concerns the closing "True Love Waits," which had been sparsely played live since its creation in 1995 (and which had previously closed I Might Be Wrong as a ballad for solo acoustic guitar) and finally gets its long-awaited studio release here. This time around, guitar is replaced by overdubbed pianos each playing a simple phrase (but layered and staggered in a way to make the arrangement sound much thicker and more intricate than would any one part), and the end result is quite different from the acoustic version but equally affecting. Honestly, I wouldn't know that this song had any sort of "long-awaited legend" status associated with it if I hadn't gone out of my way to read this, and I don't see this as one of the main highlights of the album, but it's still rather lovely. The leftover that interests me most is the one that starts off the album; "Burn the Witch" originated in the Kid A sessions, and the band had dabbled with it in subsequent sessions, but it wasn't until now that they settled on the right way to approach it. Unlike other typical cases where the band had made use of strings, where they were a decorative flourish (albeit often an important one), this song centers around strings, both in terms of carrying the underpinning harmonies (courtesy of the low strings) and in terms of providing a percussive element (instead of bowing the notes they are struck with the bow, and this incessant striking creates a jittery feel not unlike that of the guitars in early Talking Heads or something like that). The third leftover is "Present Tense," which the band wrote in 2008 but didn't make the cut when the band got around to recording King of Limbs; it's an ok song, featuring acoustic guitars over a Latin beat and ghostly harmonies, and while it probably wouldn't have fit well with the other numbers on King of Limbs, that wouldn't necessarily have been a bad thing.

Of the remaining eight tracks, two clearly stand out from the pack for me. The first is "Daydreaming," which marks the closest the band has come to ambient music since "Treefingers" 16 years earlier; 6+ minutes might seem like much for a track that's basically nothing but sparse singing over a simple piano line with bits of various additional effects (like the eerily just-out-of-tune bits of synth playing something similar to the main piano line), but the time flies by, and when the angry strings swoop in at about the five minute mark, the effect of it is terrific. I should note that I'm not inclined to make a huge deal out of the warped and reversed vocals tucked near the end, with Yorke making various allusions to the end of his long-term relationship; I genuinely thought the first half dozen times I listened that the last 30 seconds was supposed to be snoring and then cellos imitating snoring, and that's kinda the way I prefer it. The other one that wows me is "Ful Stop," which the band had first played on the King of Limbs tour but that (according to my understanding) hadn't been written in time for possible inclusion on that album. It's an incredible exercise in layering arrangements gradually, starting off as a creepy bassline over a pulsating electronic drum part, then adding an incredibly atmospheric slow synth line and bits of production curiosities. By the middle of the song, it becomes something resembling a top-notch Hail to the Thief guitar-heavy number (with all of the previous elements still going strong), and it's in this song especially that I find myself understanding why so many people gush over this album.

Beyond the previously mentioned highlights, the only one that really jumps out at me is the gloriously titled "Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Rich Man Poor Man Beggar Man Thief," which starts off sounding exactly like a high-quality leftover from Kid A/Amensiac but eventually takes on some aspects in the piano and especially the strings that give it a personality distinct from the typical material from those sessions. The other five tracks are ... fine. It would be a lie for me to say that they all sound alike ("Desert Island Disk" starts off with acoustic guitar while the others don't, and "Glass Eyes" has a false start that leads into a lovely sounding bit of treated piano), and I know that they each have their own interesting details when I bother to pay attention closely, but I have listened to this album a very reasonable amount of times and I could not tell you which track was which (if you played me a 15 second clip from the middle of any of them) even with my family's life on the line. I enjoy every single one of them when on, and when the album is off the only lasting impression that any of them leaves with me is "yup, that was a track from Radiohead's 2016 album A Moon Shaped Pool alright, at least I think it was, wait that wasn't from In Rainbows or King of Limbs right ok just checking."

Truth be told, after three listens, I thought about giving this a lower grade, but on the fourth listen "Daydreaming" and "Ful Stop" emerged from the morass as unmistakable highlights (when I already liked the opening "Burn the Witch" a lot, almost certainly because it was first), and they helped me make the case to myself to bump this up. For a serious Radiohead fan, this will probably seem like another message from the gods, and there's no reason for them not to own and like this. For the more casual Radiohead fans among us, this is still a delight, and it's a relief to hear that King of Limbs was just a bump and not a pivot towards clear decline, but it's not a critical part of their career, "True Love Waits" notwithstanding.

 A Moon Shaped Pool by RADIOHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.90 | 340 ratings

A Moon Shaped Pool
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars I am not a Radiohead fan. I have never been able to pick up on the supposed genius and innovation that the band has bestowed upon the fortunate world. But they have had a few songs that at least have got me interested enough to listen to their music. "Subterranean Homesick Alien," "Optimistic," "Everything in Its Right Place," and "Arpeggios/Weird Fishes" are all great songs. Still, seeing the positive reviews pouring in when A Moon Shaped Pool was released got me interested enough to buy the album. It's taken me some time to get to know and judge the album. A Moon Shaped Pool is definitely an appropriate title--incorporating two references that I find quite appropriate: the all-pervasive murky, underwater rendering of many of the instruments in the way that Harold Budd and Brian Eno once pioneered on albums like Discreet Music, Plateaux of Mirror, The Pearl, and others as well as the pseudonym chosen by Budd and Cocteau Twins' Robin Guthrie for their THE MOON AND THE MELODIES collaboration.

1. "Burn The Witch" (3:40) a perky, almost frenetic and driving beat beneath the vocals here makes this one engaging and yet almost annoying. (8/10)

2. "Daydreaming" (6:24) is a gentle song with lots of headphones-pleasing subtleties and pitch-bent sounds flitting in and out of the soundscape. I really enjoy this one. Another 'under water'-like listening experience. One of my top three songs from the album. (9/10)

3. "Decks Dark" (4:41) weird treated piano sound manipulations with distant drum machine open this song before Thom and real-time piano bring in the melody and lyric. At 1:25 the band joins in--as do some eery background female vocals and electric guitar--which almost drown Thom's vocal out! (Interesting engineering choice!) The song may want to sound dark and eery but the lasting effect is once again to make the listener feel as though they're minds are being messed with--as if our reality is being distorted. Interesting. (8/10)

4. "Desert Island Disk" (3:44) acoustic guitar played with finger pads opens this song. More eery background (left channel) heavily treated and pitchbent sounds play--(with equally spacey distorted guitar appearing intermittently in the right channel). All the while Thom Yorke sings dreamily over the top. An acid/psychedelic folk song? (8/10)

5. "Ful Stop" (6:07) opens with a two-note bass line, fast bass drum beat, and heavily treated snare beat swimming within the horn-like synths floating around beneath left and above right. Thom's vocals are a little higher pitched and sound a little more affected than usual here. Then at 3:25 he begins repeating in a tow falsettos "truth will mess you up" and "all the good times, one over the other in layered channels. Interestingly effective--much in the same way I find "Arpeggio/Weird Fishes" so hypnotic. (9/10)

6. "Glass Eyes" (2:52) opens with more heavily, heavily treated piano accompanied beautifully by the strings of the London Contemporary Orchestra. Thom's sedate vocal is present very front and forward, even a little below us, as he sings as if the long night of drinking has left him alone and philosophical. One of my top three--probably my favorite song on the album. (10/10)

7. "Identikit" (4:26) opens with one of the band's sparse and seemingly simple rhythms, bass, drums and guitar, before layers of Thom Yorke voices fill much of the soundscape--as if different parts of Thom are singing each in different dimensions. Then at 2:05 the voices unify into one direct voice front and center singing about broken hearts making it rain--which is then repeated by the female choir of the London Contemporary Orchestra. The multi-dimensional voices return as reggae-like bass and lead guitar take increasing prominence to the end. Pretty cool song--worth multiple visits. (8/10)

8. "The Numbers" (5:45) opens like a combination of 1960's opening to John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme" and the morph into a CROSBY, STILLS, NASH & YOUNG psych folk anthem. Could be a great song from Sweden's THE AMAZING. Acoustic guitar, piano, treated piano, electric guitar, busy bass, and background snare-dominated drums populate the soundscape as Thom sings within the psychedelia. Very cool sound. At 3:33 orchestra strings join in providing a very effective BEATLES-like presence. Finale with choir and strings supporting Thom and the pianos. Another tope three song for me. (I'm just a sucker for that CSN&Y sound.) (9/10)

9. "Present Tense" (5:06) opens with a basso nova-like rhythm and Thom's "ooo"s. An interesting choice of music to accompany Thom's plaintive, despondent vocal about the overabundance of human-inflicted violence on our planet (or is it about the breakup of a relationship of his?). Okay song. Probably my least favorite on the album. (7/10)

10. "Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Rich Man Poor Man Beggar Man Thief" (5:03) opens with old time tape his over cheesy sounding drum-machine beats and syncopated old-time electric piano chord hits. Thom soon enters and sings in his higher register voice (which, I just noticed, is quite similar to that of SIGUR RÓS's Jónsi). A lot of orchestral strings and female choir effects are added to the usual Radiohead electronically manipulated sounds making this an interesting representation of the human conundrum of living in our computer age. The song could have been further or better developed. (7/10)

11. "True Love Waits" (4:43) two and then three and four Harold Budd-like treated piano tracks support another higher register, but more plaintive Thom Yorke vocal. The deviation from single time signature to more polyrhythmic effect in the third minute gives the song a bit more interest--but almost to the distraction of the vocal. Plus, I'm not sure why, but the sound engineering has (I'm assuming) allowed some scratchy tape static and hiss to be present in the soundscape--which I happen to find a bit distracting and annoying. Otherwise, this might be considered a pretty ingenious little song. (9/10)

All in all I think the experimentation with sound engineering got away from Thom and the band a little on this one-- some of the "old" effects like hiss, static, scratches, whirl and wobble on this album are a bit annoying and distracting. Digital CD sound is not 'supposed' to sound like this! I'm totally clueless as to why a band would want this on their album, but it's here. The songs are mostly pleasant enough--and the incorporation of the London Contemporary Orchestra and Female Choir are powerful and quite welcome. And I do like and appreciate the sonic engineering the band incorporate into their soundscapes, but, it can get to be a bit much. Still, this is a very good album from a very good band. I'll recommend this one with a solid four stars.

 A Moon Shaped Pool by RADIOHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.90 | 340 ratings

A Moon Shaped Pool
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant, Crossover & Neo Teams

4 stars A UK outfit RADIOHEAD have changed their expression and impression every time they released an album, but they have kept upon their identified anacatesthesia and pessimism via production and voices mainly by Thom YORKE for over thirty years (or at least since their first album "Pablo Honey" was released in 1993). Their 9th album "A Moon Shaped Pool" could be felt not purely pop nor forcibly complicated but familiarity with anti-pop intensity. Every fan (like me!) who has been following them since their debut album launched would have looked forward to their creation, and he/she would not be betrayed also by this one I suggest. Various sound appearances can be heard here and there, which should drive us crazy - kinda killer one indeed. For them (especially Thom himself), either what is acoustic or how electronic ought to be should not be cared, and it's natural they represent what boils up in their inner space. Let me say this phenomenon might be their charm eternally.

Anyway we would not have come across such a combo who create "monotonous pop / rock" so frequently. Their mysterious monotonous melody lines have obvious auditory extension and variation. No multitempo nor tone change can be heard but enthusiasm and powerful intention for production always addict the audience perfectly. The first shot "Burn The Witch" or "Desert Island Disk" sounds hypnotically acoustic with definite comfort. The comfort might grow up along with Thom's flat voices I imagine. "Daydreaming" (as the title says) or "Glass Eyes" (as if fragile glass would break away) throws us into a sensitive dream in the afternoon, filled with their electronic agents. "Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Rich Man Poor Man Beggar Man Thief", I'm sure this be their masterpiece in this album, reminds me of their innovative, energetic and simultaneously delicate creativity that could be heard in "The Bends" or "OK Computer" a long while ago.

Cheers for their stubborn (!) music expression strategies and incredible taste kept for over thirty years. You're artists of genius.

 A Moon Shaped Pool by RADIOHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.90 | 340 ratings

A Moon Shaped Pool
Radiohead Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Emerging after a five-year period of post-King of Limbs dormancy, Radiohead evidently spent the downtime shifting gear yet again. Just as they'd shifted from grouchy, misanthropic indie rock to esoteric prog-tinged indie guitar symphonies between The Bends and OK Computer, and then shifted again to abrasive electronica for Kid A and the subsequent releases, this time around they've managed to pull off another surprise by shifting gear to their gentlest sound ever, with a sort of Radiohead-ified modernised Scott Walker narrative on the opening Burn the Witch setting the scene for what's going down from there on.

This progressive chamber pop sound presents a new musical frontier for Radiohead to occupy, and they manage to do it perfectly; it's perhaps the most accessible thing they've done since OK Computer, though equally I can see how they needed to go through all the electronic hinterlands they have explored since then in order to arrive at this sound.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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