Radiohead

In Rainbows (n / a)

Phases & Stages

Radiohead

In Rainbows

A decade after technological touchstone OK Computer, Radiohead embraces the digital reality it predicted. Version 7.0, In Rainbows, scales back the preprogrammed paranoia that defined the seminal UK fivepiece's last three outings, relying instead on ethereal backdrops and swelling strings to accentuate Thom Yorke's crystal croon. The electronic beat-scape that opens "15 Step" back-drifts briefly into Kid A as the singer quivers in questions ("How come I end up where I started?") until Jonny Greenwood's guitar enters like a tranquilizer. "Bodysnatchers" exhibits the electioneering energy of The Bends with a monstrous riff that explodes into a spiral galaxy of guitar, but the remainder of the album flows like an extended Soma holiday. Following the meditative backdrop of backward guitar, "Nude" strips into a slow waltz of strings that envelope Yorke's glacial falsetto. Live staple "Weird Fishes/Arpeggi" induces a rhythmic hypnosis, while "Reckoner" revisits Yorke's solo outing, last year's The Eraser, after acoustic interlude "Faust Arp." The orchestrated tension escalates in "All I Need," which recalls the dreamier moments of 2003's Hail to the Thief, Yorke's isolation unfolding atop a cold, synthetic bassline, "I'm an animal trapped in your hot car/I am all the days that you choose to ignore." The pieces slowly come together during the densely layered "House of Cards" and acoustic rocker "Jigsaw Falling Into Place," before the resolving, closed-circuit piano loop of "Videotape." The future has been downloaded. Radiohead.com.

***.5

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