Review: Radiohead- ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’-first impressions


New-look Radiohead

No alarms, but a few surprises, then ,when this new studio album from Radiohead, their ninth, dropped last night on Tom Robinson’s Now Playing show on Radio 6Music at 7pm.

Burn The Witch with its brilliant Camberwick Green– meets-Wicker Man video is already a fan favourite, with its pizzicato strings and echoey vocals, Thom whispering, ”a low-flying panic attack”.

There are similar, typically ‘head themes throughout- (sub)urban paranoia, surveillance, love, ambition, fallings out (Thom sings, ”Don’t talk to me, full stop” on the swirling, Enoesque meanderings of Ful Stop (sic) with its chaotic mood.)

Identikit has Jonny Greenwood noodling a lot, and Tinker Tailor.. is kind of dubby, with echoey vocals and electronic piano- subtle, restrained, but menacing enough to be intriguing. Desert Island Disk, its polar opposite, flirts with an idyllic Nick Drake folk- perhaps the reason for the old-fashioned spelling of disc. But there are still drones and pulses alongside the delicate guitar-picking.

Thom video still

A video still from Daydreaming

What is most surprising is how relaxed the band sound here- Present Tense even has a Latin shimmy to it, whilst The Numbers ‘ ghostly female voices are complemented by almost Led Zep strings.

The biggest surprise is saved for last-True Love Waits closes the album- a song which often closed live sets and was covered by artists like Camille O’Sullivan. All of which proves we can never second-guess them. A welcome return.

a moon shaped pool artwork

New album artwork.

(Lorna Irvine)

Find it on, or on XL mid-June for the official release.



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