AUTUMN MUSIC SPECIAL
If you think RADIOHEAD are not playing by the rules with their no-video, no-singles and no- publicity policy, just wait until you hear the album. The List gave it an early listen. And it's strange.
THEY'VE GONE JAZZ. THERE ARE NO guitars. Thom Yorke keeps talking about sucking lemons and limbless angels, about death and killers and sleeping pills. There are no singles. There are no tunes. They've gone mad. Ladies and gentlemen, Radiohead are back. After three years of insider gossip and Chinese whispers, Kid A is here, not so much the Saviour Of Rock (guitar heroes come home to roost, as it were) as its digital, fx-laden death-knell, a nail in the coffin of the decaying corpse of guitar music in this country. And then there are the live shows. ’A Genuine Freakshow,’ say the adverts, complete with 'mobiles chirping, cracks appearing beneath the veneer' and — ominously — 'abattoir noises'. Thousands of rock kids, succumbing like lambs to the electronic slaughter?
It looks like it. KidA is like nothing that has come before. It starts inauspiciously enough, a fluttering, floating wash of synths introducing ‘Everything In Its Right Place'; and then the fun begins. Thom Yorke’s vocals are cut to ribbons, choppy snippets of dialogue dodging in and out of the noise, bass rumbling in the distance like an impending storm. 'Yesterday I woke up sucking a lemon,’ intones Yorke, bitter and scared.
Gone are the stadium-rousing choruses, the juggernaut riffs, the driving, pulsating rhythms. And in their place? Echoes of Kraftwerk and Aphex Twin, the dirty, distorted world view of 705 electronic punks Suicide. But this isn't a band who have abandoned their past; the Radiohead of old still seeps through. In the technological paranoia of OK