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Radiohead - Hail To The Thief CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.44 | 450 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars I need to give this album a little boost here. Hail to the Thief is Radiohead's most diverse and it's filled with top-notch material. That having been said, it doesn't have the groundbreaking, essential for any rock collection feats of OK Computer or Kid A, but it is still highly experimental. The songs here combine both of Radiohead's worlds, rock and electronic, with new twists. The songs tend to have thick, dark atmospheres. The songs are all under 6 minutes, but plenty happens in those few minutes, most of the time.

The opener, "2+2=5" starts with a set of clean guitar arpeggios with Thom's ethereal voice before spontaneously exploding in the back third of the song for a climactic ending. A recent review complains that this could have easily been a 20-minute prog suite if the band wanted, but they didn't want to do it. It's not their style. Sure, I'd love to hear the band write a 20-minute song, but I am completely satisfied with the result of the quick and dynamic opening track. From there we move into one of the band's best tracks, "Sit Down. Stand Up." Which starts off quite atmospheric as well, and slowly builds into a crazy, chaotic electronic breakbeat climax. It's a very cool song. From there we have a ballad, "Sail to the Moon." It's a beautiful piece with an unusual count. A slower electronic-based piece "Backdrifts." leads into another rocker, "Go to Sleep." Both are good songs, but the next highlight of the album is the song that comes next, "Where I End and You Begin." More ethereal goodness suppliments a sweet bassline and its density increases to the end of the song with the dark, scary repetition of "I will eat you alive." The creepiness continues into the next piece, "We Suck Yound Blood." As the name implies, this is a dark piece. It is very slow and brooding for 3 minutes before the tempo suddenly increases and the song goes into an uptempo, jazzy segment that is very misleading. After a few repetitions the song goes right back to how it was a few seconds ago. This move was probably not the best. I like songs taking unexpected turns and all, but this break could have been given some more breathing time. Besides, the rest of the song gets kinda boring by the end. Next, "The Gloaming." is an electronic piece, more chaotic and interesting than "Backdrifts.," but also less melodic. "There There." is a very nice, melodic piece and is another highlight that starts a series of solid tracks to bring the album to a close. The interlude "I Will." moves us into another memorable bassline which leads the way in "A Punchup at a Wedding." This one has some good vocal work also. Good track. "Myxomatosis." is a largely electronic piece, and it is easily the best of its class on the disc. "Scatterbrain" is an emotional piece, again leaning on the dark side, and "A Wolf at the Door" is a brooding, strong closer.

Any fan of Radiohead should find a lot to enjoy here. Those not familiar with the band are advised to check out OK Computer, Kid A and their recent masterpiece In Rainbows for an easier and more consistently satisfying intro to the band. I am inclined to agree that some of the songs could have been trimmed or even plain cut out, and others could have been expanded, but the good far outweighs the bad for me. Hail to the Thief is another excellent title in the band's catalog.

Moatilliatta | 5/5 |


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