Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool>: Accessible and melodic… but as complex and unsettling as ever

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A new album from Radiohead, a band about as likely to rest on their laurels as they are to announce a collaboration with McFly, is never less than an event. Following the explorative rhythms and textures of 2011’s The King Of Limbs, this sees the Oxfordshire quintet in as directly accessible and beautifully melodic a mode as they’ve ever been – and as complex, unsettling and as
heart-rending as ever.

Filled with cinematic strings courtesy of the London Contemporary Orchestra, detailed guitars, plaintive piano and Thom Yorke’s ever-raw vocals, the album sounds both fresh and like a culmination of everything the band have done before.

This is perhaps something to do with the fact that the majority of tracks are reworked versions of songs that have previously existed in other incarnations. The gorgeous but typically anxious True Love Waits, in particular, is a studio version of a fan favourite first heard back in the days of The Bends tour in 1995.

Daydreaming melds loose piano with distorted gasps of backwards vocal, while Burn The Witch leads with frenetic strings. Desert Island Disk mixes folky guitar and dreamy electronica, while Ful Stop leads us through a bass-heavy, dark tunnel into skittering daylight.

There’s talk that this could be Radiohead’s goodbye – if it is, the door will always be propped open for their return.