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Radiohead - Pablo Honey CD (album) cover

PABLO HONEY

Radiohead

 

Crossover Prog

2.52 | 364 ratings

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CassandraLeo
3 stars First things first: There is almost nothing prog about this album. The opener, "You", alternates three bars of 6/8 and one bar of 5/8. That's pretty much the only prog touch on the album; none of the songs even breaks the six-minute mark (granted, neither did any of the songs on The Bends). There also isn't much hint of the experimental juggernaut that Radiohead would later become. It's pretty much a straightforward grunge-meets-Britpop effort. This may be a somewhat uncommon mixture of styles, but it's certainly not a patch on the genre-breaking work Radiohead would do later with efforts like OK Computer and Kid A.

However, all that aside, it's a solid debut, and doesn't deserve the pasting a lot of reviewers give it. It suffers in comparison to the band's later efforts, so people have the inclination to label this album as being much worse than it actually is. Songs like the aforementioned "You", the closer "Blow Out", and the anthemic "Anyone Can Play Guitar", all three of which are probably as good as anything on The Bends, provide solid proof that the album is much more than a showcase for the band's early hit "Creep" (which is also a much better song than it's frequently given credit for being). The brief, furious "How Do You?", the reflective, almost R.E.M.-ish "Stop Whispering", and the almost heartbreaking "Lurgee" also stand out as strong tracks.

New listeners, particularly if they're looking for something progressive, certainly shouldn't start here (the most sensible recommendation is probably to start with The Bends and work forward, then come back here, but I started with Kid A when it was released and never looked back), but this release shouldn't be overlooked completely. There are plenty of wonderful songs here.

CassandraLeo | 3/5 |

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