Radiohead - Hail To The Thief - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Radiohead - Hail To The Thief

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:2003-06-09

Radiohead's Hail to the Thief bridges the gulf between OK Computer's epic progressive rock and Kid A's skittering electronic theatrics, borrowing equally from each. Its title implies that this is a collection filled with songs of anger and dissent, but Radiohead no longer howl at the moon like they did on 1995's The Bends. Instead, they use eloquent metaphors and complicated arrangements to express the uncertainty, fear and anger arising from the 2000 US presidential election and a post-9-11 world. There's no doubt about where Thom Yorke and company stand; the prog-rock break on "2 + 2 = 5" and Yorke's terror at the thought of being "put in a box" make that immediately clear. But there's a prevailing sense of powerlessness here. The tinkling piano behind the cold sonic surface of "Backdrifts" and the brief, swooping melody in the middle of "Sail to the Moon" are islands in a sea of confusion. Like the band's best work, Hail to the Thief requires more than a few listens to fully appreciate, but those who stick around will be richly rewarded. --Matthew Cooke

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