Design By Humans
Published On: Mon, Jun 20th, 2016

Radiohead: A Moon Shaped Pool

A Moon Shaped Pool
(XL Recordings)

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Jonny Greenwood takes a page from Jimmy Page, slicing hi electric guitar with a violin bow for the kinetic “Burn the Witch,” the U2, vibey opener of Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool. Clinky sounds inform “Decks Dark” with Phil Selway’s drumming sounding so far away and tight that it could be a machine, and a tinkling piano front-and-center. Thom Yorke sounds very warm here, as he does all across A Moon Shaped Pool, especially with Colin Greenwood’s understated bass below him and the weird backing choral vocals working in. A la “Creep,” after those vocals, performed by the London Contemporary Orchestra, we get heavy hits on the guitar at the tail end. “Desert Island Disk” has some stellar acoustic guitar flicking (Page being summoned again?) and again some very sweet vocals from Yorke, who truly does not sounding very Yorke-ian. His most recent break-up from his lady seems to have the blogosphere speculating on his softer approach here. “Identikit” moves with the first real groove, again a tight drum sound, but I love hearing Colin Greenwood front-and-center with his walking riff, in the first really deeply-layered track here. “The Numbers” is jazzy piano, roiling bass and snapping drum with Ed O’Brien’s flicky, acoustic strumming, at least at its beginning. Big orchestra strings strike at the last third of this tune, as yet again, I am reminded of Led Zeppelin on A Moon Shaped Pool. “Present Tense” is a picking-guitar, heavy, atmospheric roll; it’s one of the best here on an album of really solid tunes. Yorke is in heartache pain as his world comes crashing down in an almost Latin concoction of great percussion and texture. “True Love Waits” is a plodding, simple, slightly muffled, low, piano arpeggio with a higher octave piano lead plucked on top. Yorke’s warbling lightly makes this a very sweet, if not a little longer-than-it-needs-to-be, ender. A Moon Shaped Pool, Radiohead’s ninth studio album, is good stuff indeed. Had we expected anything less?

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Radiohead: A Moon Shaped Pool