Sunday, May 15, 2016

Pool party

So I go away for ten days and return to discover that Radiohead are back, dropping new album A Moon Shaped Pool online with little advance warning, as has become their standard practice these days.

I haven't heard the album yet (it's set to be the featured album on Episode 5 of the Sounding Bored podcast), but the pedant in me is already irritated by the lack of a hyphen in the title... Lead track 'Burn The Witch' has certainly grown on me, though, with its superb Camberwick-Green-meets-Wicker-Man video, unsettling strings and classically obscure yet ominous Yorkist lyrics about "a low-flying panic attack" and "red crosses on wooden doors".

While the exact target and subject matter for the song might be unclear (authoritarianism, the European migrant crisis and mass online surveillance have all been proposed), those lyrics do suggest a return to the politically engaged Radiohead of the pre- and post-millennium period. That period is the focus for a Pitchfork article by Alex Niven, in which he ventures that 'Burn The Witch' is "an interventionist revival of sorts".

The band's left-of-centre politics and consistent anti-capitalist critique sits a little uncomfortably with their adoption of corporate models when it comes to managing their business affairs - but, then again, maybe that's just sensible in allowing them the financial security to be able to remain focused on the creative side of things, as the Guardian's Alex Marshall has suggested.

Meanwhile, the release of A Moon Shaped Pool has prompted Vulture's Marc Hogan to rank every single Radiohead recorded song. The result - inevitably headed "I Might Be Wrong" - is recommended to anyone who's a fan of the band, of lists and of quibbling with other people's assessments. 'Exit Music (For A Film)' at #20?! Pah.

(Thanks to Rob for the Guardian link.)

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