Radiohead In Rainbows (Self-distributed)
Conventional in every sense, save for how it was released: over the Internet, pay what you will, gratuities graciously accepted. It’s been a week since Radiohead’s smash-and-grab sale, and aside from wrecking the music biz with a disco ball and gold chain, all’s right with the world. In short, this is one listenable experience from start to finish, best all-round since OK Computer. And, yes, square as all get out, too –- is that “Julia” being channeled in “Faust Arp,” seriously? And “All I Need,” turns out, is “you.” Looks like Thom Yorke, the original Paranoid Android, has gone from looking over his shoulder to nuzzling at your neck. How about that. Then you wouldn’t expect anything less from an album titled In Rainbows, aw.
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This is the Radiohead album those of us with a case of The Bends have craved ever since the band started sterilizing its capital-Kid A rock. It’s got soul again -– brash pop soul (“15 Step,” on which the band literally sheds its staticy studio affectations as it goes), fuzzy punk soul (“Bodysnatchers”), bedroom-eyes soul (“Nude,” which I swear I heard Nina Simone sing once), orchestral-rock soul (“All I Went”) and on down the soul train. Sounds “live,” in other words –- alive, too. –- Robert Wilonsky