Review: A Moon Shaped Pool by Radiohead

A Moon Shaped Pool by RadioheadAgain, context makes a difference. In my case, I was listening to this album on the night of the Philippine elections, my Twitter feeds going on overdrive as the results started to sink in. In my case, it’s this weird mix of dread, resignation, forced optimism – little jubilation – and A Moon Shaped Pool, the British band’s ninth outing, somehow manages to fit. I mean, just the first two tracks released, “Burn the Witch” and “Daydreaming”, guided all those moods perfectly. But, again, that’s context. On its own, Radiohead’s new release is an elegant little thing: a focus on more orchestral arrangements, with the expected left turns and glitches, that yearns back to the band’s first steps towards experimentation in the late 90s. It’s strongly coherent without sounding like the “pop record” of their career, not that they need to do that. (And besides, they already have done that.) It’s certainly more focused than King of Limbs, their last album, which, while interesting in its jazzy glitchiness, felt a bit scattershot. And it says something that they managed to throw in a proper studio version of “True Love Waits” – first released as a live recording in 2001 – and it doesn’t feel like it was tossed in at the end for good measure. [NB]4/5

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