It was easy to forget, as they explored the cerebral depths of "Kid A" and "Amnesiac", that Radiohead were a real live band. They confounded the cliche that bands who Go All Weird have a tendency to give up gigging - their change of direction was no "retreat". Their vital renditions of more experimental pieces like "The National Anthem" and "Idioteque" prove that under their sensory overload of sampled chaos they're really rock songs at heart, and don't deserve any mystique surrounding them.
Although not that much is changed significantly from the studio, with a couple of exceptions. There's a suitably irritating off-key chirp on "Idioteque", and "Everything In Its Right Place" is extended dreamily. "Like Spinning Plates" is given a romantic new slant by replacing electronics with soft piano and keyboards. Thom Yorke's flat singing is sometimes a nuisance, not doing much to dispel his whiny image. The set list here is seemingly random, but this little album is worth getting for its only new material, "True Love Waits". Despite Yorke's wobbles, this is a lovely tune in the tingling ballad style that they made their own with "Fake Plastic Trees"
January 26, 2005