Radiohead - Amnesiac - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Radiohead - Amnesiac

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:2001-06-04

Though the songs on Amnesiac were recorded at the same time as those on its predecessor, Kid A, the gap between the releases of the pair suggests a determination on Radiohead's part that the two should not be perceived as halves of the same whole. However, there is little in the way of meaningful stylistic divergence between the two albums--Amnesiac shares with Kid A an atmosphere of defeated, vengeful paranoia, a heavy reliance on electronic noises and distorted vocals, a somewhat frustrating absence of Jonny Greenwood's guitar and the song "Morning Bell", which reappears on Amnesiac in a slightly less mournful arrangement. It may just be that Radiohead felt that it might have been a bit much to ask anyone, even Radiohead fans, to consume this entire lugubrious trove at once. Amnesiac, like Kid A is heavy going. And, also like Kid A, Amnesiac rewards repeated listenings generously. The more acute Thom Yorke's lyrical biliousness grows, the harder the band work to redeem matters with some moments of astonishing beauty. "You and Whose Army?" contains gorgeous knelling piano evocative of "Karma Police", "Like Spinning Plates" deploys a backwards backing track to bewitching effect, and the closing track, "Life in a Glasshouse", is an exuberant Laughing Clowns-style wig-out, featuring veteran jazz trumpeter Humphrey Lyttleton. Once again, it is not so much that Radiohead have not put a foot wrong, but that they're walking where nobody else has trodden. Amnesiac is another giant leap. --Andrew Mueller

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