Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Radiohead - Lotus Flower

I have a confession to make.  I've never been a huge Radiohead fan.  There is undoubtedly more to the band than just "music to slit your wrists to" as many people believe, but I think hearing too many appalling covers of Creep to last a lifetime put me off (blame X-Factor for that...).  Aside from the excellent Idioteque from 'Kid A', I've never given the band the full time they deserve.

One thing I've always admired, though, is their ability to reinvent themselves with each album.  As a result, each is a true 'event', with fans clambering at the bit to hear the latest tracks.  Radiohead's sound is in a constant state of evolution - no mean feat.

Their latest album 'The King of Limbs', however, is more a continuation of 2007's 'In Rainbows', further fusing with Thom Yorke's experimental solo work (And It Rained All Night from 'The Eraser' being a personal favourite).  'The King of Limbs' is a more refined work than 'In Rainbows', with more expansive use of orchestral instruments.  Codex is particularly haunting with its use of reverbed brass and string fluttering.

Lotus Flower has become the flagship track from the album, even if largely for Yorke's dancing on the video.  It's easy to see why, not least because it's the album's centrepiece.  The theme of the album is clearly nature, the title of this track being an obvious allusion.  The driving bass and percussion provide the momentum, whilst Yorke's beautiful falsetto hovers hypnotically above.  It's one of the few Radiohead tracks that divides fairly neatly into a verse/chorus structure, so is more easily digested.

As York sings, "slowly we unfurl as lotus flowers" - so does my appreciation not only of this track, but the full album and the band overall.  Lie back, close your eyes, and let the sounds wash over you.