For me, Radiohead is one of the best bands in the world. In the days when I was a purist synth fan, I saw "Creep" on MTV, and thought it was really good, although I didn't buy it back then (it was the wrong type of music for me at the time).
Some years later a friend played the album "The Bends"and I was completely hooked. Thom's excellent voice, the beautiful melodies and delicate production grabbed me like almost no other music had before. My heart shattered every time I heard "Fake Plastic Trees" or "Street Spirit". I bought every album, EP and single I could get my hands on, and everything was godlike. I started going on a crusade to spread the Radiohead religion to all my friends, and most of them liked what they heard.
Radiohead also gave me my best concert experience ever when they played in Stockholm to support the masterpiece "OK Computer". I was almost in tears when they played "Creep" and Thom held a note, seemingly forever, after the final chorus.
And then "Kid A" came. After the trials of being one of the biggest selling, most critically acclaimed band in the world they recorded a very difficult record, with nothing that even resembled the Radiohead I loved. To this day I have listened to it maybe a dozen times. People say you have to listen to it a lot to appreciate it, but I can't make myself do it. It just isn't Radiohead for me.
Therefore, this is a very difficult review to write. Even if this album probably isn't what I wanted to hear, it's still good. It was recorded during the "Kid A" sessions. It shows, even though some more "traditional" tracks can be found as well. Some songs are even very good, like "Pyramid Song", "You and Whose Army?" and "Knives Out". Here we see Radiohead do what they do best, namely atmospheric guitar tracks with lots of melody, emotion and Thom's superb voice on top.
Unfortunately, there are also the incredibly boring experimental tracks like "Pulk/pull Revolving Doors", which consists solely of Thom mumbling with a computer voice and a crappy rhythm track for four minutes. And then we have "Like Spinning Plates" with some weird synth pads and Thom's vocals played backwards, and yet it actually sounds pretty good when the strings set in after a while. Sometimes we find middle ground like in "I Might be Wrong", where the drums are electronic, but a guitar riff dominates the scene.
The before mentioned "Knives Out" is the next single, which is understandable as it is an uptempo track and perhaps one of the best Radiohead tracks ever. It can be noted that it's totally free of electronics.
I like this album miles better than "Kid A", but perhaps some of the songs should have been taken off it. It doesn't reach the dizzy heights of the previous albums, with their totally mind-expandning songs. I hope this is just a phase they are going through, and that the next album will be the perfect mixture of the new and the old. As Thom Yorke himself said in a recent interview: "I think we're just getting warmed up."