June 10, 2016

Radiohead - The Bends (1995)

In one quick turnaround, Radiohead stepped from an average britpop band to the most iconic and imitated group of the 90s and 00s when they recorded The Bends. Their debut album, Pablo Honey, isn't very spectacular, but it demonstrates Thom Yorke's unique microphone power and his ability to deliver direct and artistic lyrics. I think that Yorke and his lonely voice are much more effective when backed up by this blend of sultry acoustic tunes and absolute rockers. Anybody will notice that the guitar work is much rawer than their more artsy and studio-dominated later works. Radiohead has three guitarists, which I like to make fun of sometimes, but I can't really judge a band for something that stupid when they're coming up with overlapping textures that are this fucking epic, can I? I'm impressed by how deeply each song on The Bends unfolds; they're all like mini prog-rock compositions in that regard. Most of the softer tracks have well timed explosive moments and the power jams generally exhibit moping, slackerish recoils which really maximize the emotional surface area of the album. The Bends is my favorite Radiohead album because of its intensity and great pacing. Very consistent as well, every song is a highlight.