The King of Limbs (XL / TBD)

Phases & Stages


The King of Limbs (XL/TBD)

Radiohead accomplishes a rare feat with The King of Limbs: a digital release that defies instant gratification. The pioneering UK quintet's eighth and shortest studio album presents a challenging, beatific assemblage of grayscale electronica and glass-house frailty that, like 2003's Hail to the Thief in the wake of Kid A's digital awakening, offers more of a ripple effect than a sonic sea change from predecessor In Rainbows. "Bloom" awakens in a dream sequence, a lone piano circuit warped and cast off to a tectonic beatscape of flinching, symphonic effects anchored by Phil Selway's fluttering percussion and the heavy swoon of Colin Greenwood's bass. Thom Yorke works wonders in such ambient realms, his serene melodies a constant buoy above the tonal wash. In the vindictive throb and purposeful truncation of "Morning Mr. Magpie," cobweb-cluttering "Little by Little," and headphone rave "Feral," the first half of Limbs could pass as a more fully realized version of the singer's solo reboot, The Eraser. The only obvious single aside from final bow "Separator," "Lotus Flower" marks a subtle shift in focus and structure, a commanding piece of modern electro-pop that gives way to the sublime "Codex," a piano ballad of near-lunar isolation that ranks among the band's finest work. "Give Up the Ghost" is a song shadowed by itself, an acoustic reverie set atop a looped backdrop of Yorke alternately crooning "don't hurt me" and "in your arms." Such moments of unnerving beauty make The King of Limbs, despite its complete lack of guitar-rock grandeur, worth revisiting time and again.


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Radiohead
Friday ACL Fest Face-Off: Radiohead vs. Major Lazer
Friday ACL Fest Face-Off: Radiohead vs. Major Lazer
Who wins? C'mon now.

Kahron Spearman, Sept. 30, 2016

Phases & Stages
A Moon Shaped Pool (Record Review)

Kahron Spearman, Aug. 12, 2016

More Music Reviews
Top 10 Box Sets of 2018
Brian Eno
Music for Installations (Record Review)

Dan Gentile, Dec. 7, 2018

Texas Platters
Jeffrey Zeigler/Golden Hornet
The Sound of Science (Record Review)

Jeremy Steinberger, Nov. 30, 2018

More by Austin Powell
Record Review: The Young
Record Review: The Young

Aug. 22, 2014

Pickathon Polishes Off No. 16
Pickathon Polishes Off No. 16
Oregon fest boasts IPAs, ATXs, camping, and sustainability

Aug. 4, 2014



One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle