by John Parks
A forgetful soul would have the pleasure of being free from all of the deconstructing that has accompanied the release of Radiohead's Kid A and recent companion, Amnesiac. The two were recorded during the same session and rumor had it that the latter would be a return-to-form guitar album. Those with memories intact have waited months for this one to be the more accessible of the two -- well, ha!
Yes, there are more guitars (even jangly at times) sandwiched with jazzy Miles and Mingus orchestrations and dreamy electronica. "You and Whose Army" and "Knives Out" will certainly please. Thom Yorke also delivers a stronger and more emotional vocal performance this time around. Several tracks are simply beautiful and images are less alien and more tangible: clouds, doors and bumps on the head. The listener is left with the impression of a more inhabitable hell.
Overall, the tracks flow together more smoothly than its older sibling. Figuring out lyrics is still problematic, often times frustrating, like early REM. Reconcile that to the fact that much of Radiohead's aim is an experiment in sound. This album feels more like wood to Kid A's plastic, but they should be listened to as companion pieces since they even share the same song, "Morning Bell." Be prepared for a journey rather than a destination. This record is not the answer; it's a damn fine experiment: we still have to go to work tomorrow.