Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool – Album Review


by Joseph Sarrington Smith

Well, I still disagree with their manager… But after a five year hiatus, and after all the recent deaths in the music industry, the timing of the release of this album seems perfect, because here’s a little something to cheer us up (never thought I’d say that about Radiohead to be honest).

‘Daydreaming’ is one of the most gorgeous tracks on the album; the sounds perfectly complimenting the title. Woozy and otherworldly, it’s the ideal soundtrack for drifting down the river on a lazy, summer afternoon.

The title is a bit of a mouthful but ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Rich Man Poor Man Beggar Man Thief’ slowly builds up to a soaring string section that would’ve made John Barry proud.

And then we have the most perfect ending. ‘True Love Waits’ which first started appearing at Radiohead gigs in the mid 90’s, played solo by Thom Yorke on acoustic guitar, has finally made it’s way onto a studio album. And I think this version is just as good as the live one. That one was a heartbreaking ballad; this one is a jazzy, ethereal poem.

However, I think ‘Present Tense’ is the best track on the album. Radiohead have come up with some real tearjerkers in the past, and now this one can be added to the list. How do they make melancholy sound so beautiful?

I don’t think I’ve ever been so chilled out listening to a Radiohead album before. It’s so tranquil and once again showcases Thom Yorke’s obvious interest in the output created by the Warp Records label. But what impresses me is the way the band can take bits and pieces from everything they’ve done before and turn it into something completely new. It’s familiar, yet different.

And I’ve only just realised the track listing has been arranged in alphabetical order. Is that significant? Who knows?

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