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Radiohead - OK Computer CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.05 | 997 ratings

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4 stars Radiohead is, to me, the most refreshing musical experience of recent years. The band's ethos of endless invention is highly commendable, and at times, some of the work it produces is breath-taking in its haunting wonder.

Plaudits given, there is a big downside to this approach. When it doesn't hit dead centre, it sounds like indulgent doodling, which I suppose, is a good qualification for much of prog anyway, but it doesn't make for good music. Earlier songs like Creep somewhat epitomise this crassness, which is all the more jarring because of the high points and high expectations we have of the band. Again, it's prog territory to be so endlessly improvising in composition as well as performance that naff becomes an integral part of the nonsense in the structure.

I think this particular album is as good as it gets with Radiohead, the highs and lows are both contained here. Some of the songs are just very fine pieces of pop writing, Karma Police, Let Down, No surprises etc, almost like a thinking-man's Coldplay, with some of the same faults of repetition, regurgitated style, and one-dimensional vocals of that band too. But even contained within, and sometimes even in the poorest of Radiohead compositions, there are sections which are so moving and so centrally spiritual that it makes you long for more of this in a more conclusive and lasting composition. It's like the band are constantly searching for something truly valuable, and on occasion finding it, but flitting away from it again, almost as if they don't know themselves when they have, it's very hit and miss. They have some very low moments in composition, but the performances and vocals are always interesting, if at times frustratingly meandering and full of doodles, that word again.

I have my doubts about the total validity of what they do, but anyone who can produce those moments of haunting magic is worth believing in.

JeanFrame | 4/5 |


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