The King Of Limbs
(This blurb was first published on No Ripcord...)
Radiohead told the world they were going to release The King Of Limbs on Saturday. For whatever reason, they set it free on Friday instead. That quibble of dates may read as insignificant but rest assured: in a musical climate fraught with leaks and the increasingly topical argument that full-length records are an antiquated format for pop art, Radiohead are worth waiting for. People attacked the band for being rich enough to afford the luxury of releasing their own music, for being reclusive amid the age of Twitter and for having only thirty-some minutes of music to show for four years away. I mean, the gall!
Admittedly I, like most fans, felt a tad slighted when hopes of a King Of Limbs II evaporated and the usual b-sides bundle was replaced with a slew of mostly forgettable remixes. But why were these people – myself included – sleuthing the digital avenues of fan-sites as though this shit was The Da Vinci Code? Because, despite its failure to reach for the grandeur of previous classics, The King Of Limbs remains a fascinating exercise in pattern-breaking; bizarrely sequenced, melodically brittle but ferociously rhythmic, and surprisingly humble. Although its reception revealed a bitter group of fair-weather fans looking to define and embellish the record’s flaws, the faithful remember that Radiohead made their legacy by defying expectations.