Album Review: Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool

A Moon Shaped PoolRadiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool

Alternative | Art Rock | Ambient


Radiohead have always had a knack for doing the unexpected, from the sudden shift to electronica and jazz for Kid A to the surprise “pay what you want” release of In Rainbows. After the downright bizarre The King of Limbs made fans question whether the band had peaked, they have hit back with something truly unique to add to their catalogue. This album is their most simple, most accessible and most purposeful to date. Laden with orchestral arrangements and even choral sections, this is a cohesive collection of tranquil and blissful songs. Perhaps best likened to a mix of Sigur Ros and Automatic for the People era REM, it is an album that sweeps you away from the instant you press play. It contains music of transcendent beauty that washes over you like a cool rising tide.

A lot of the songs have been around for a while in some form or another and will be familiar to hardcore fans. Most notable of which is ‘True Love Waits’ which has been a live favourite for over 20 years and has finally been given a studio version. Don’t get fooled into thinking this is an album of odds and ends, if anything it feels like the songs belong together and have been saved up for the opportune moment. From the opening build of ‘Burn The Witch’ right up to the final achingly plaintive cry of “don’t leave”, Radiohead take you on a journey of cinematic scale that is equal parts paranoia and euphoria. It may not spawn iconic singles like The Bends, it may not be a seminal album like OK Computer, it might not be as much of a perfect package as In Rainbows, but A Moon Shaped Pool has it’s own unique charms. It ranks amongst their best work and has given me a greater appreciation of one of the most consistently brilliant bands around.