It’s been just over a month and the dust has finally settled since Radiohead released ‘The King of Limbs’ a day earlier than expected on 18th February. Following a week long enigmatic internet campaign, involving a Japanese tweet and a surprise waiting on Friday morning for those who had pre-ordered the album, Radiohead’s 8th album finally arrived. The album sees the band return to the ‘Kid A’ sessions era of their career and is a rhythmically driven electronic album, all of which sounds great on paper.
Hoards of fans, myself among them, have been quite disappointed by the new album and find it to be Radiohead at their most mundane. This album has echoes of Flying Lotus’ ‘Cosmogramma’ and Burial’s ‘Untrue’, but more importantly this album finds Radiohead taking influence from their contemporaries, when ordinarily it’s the other way round. Perhaps the reason for disappointment is that the album is essentially a genre piece; Radiohead have released a bog-standard electronic album that doesn’t try to be anything but that. The album isn’t bad, and in comparison to a lot of music at the moment ‘The King of Limbs’ is a cut above, but when compared (and it inevitably will be) to their previous albums, it falls unfortunately short.
Rumours continue to mount about whether a second album will be unveiled imminently; “£30 for an 8 tracked, 37 minute long album?” and “Why does the digital receipt say TKOL1? Could it mean The King of Limbs 1?” are but a few of the questions circulating around blogs. All of which makes me think that the fans are desperately hoping Radiohead – a band renowned for never stagnating – haven’t reached their artistic peak with ‘The King of Limbs’.