An Album a Day: #5 The Bends

18 03 2013

Radiohead - The BendsWow, what is there to say about this album that has not already been said? Not a lot in fairness. I remember where I was when I first heard it, I suppose that is something new?

I was working in a convenience store back in my home town and I used to work the really early Sunday morning shift to get all the newspapers ready. As the store was not officially open at that time of the day a colleague and myself always used to listen to a few CD’s, it was he that provided Radiohead. It was the first time I had heard them and instantly I got it, it seemed to hit a chord or nerve within me that has never since dissolved.

Songs of such brilliance and varying sounds around that guitar rock theme, Planet Telex is in my opinion one of the best opening tracks of all time, that almost electronic wind sound before the chords and the bass kick in is just sublime and seriously sets you up for the journey through this album.

It really is a journey and I find it hard to even find a weak track on the whole album. Each song presenting some deep set anger through the aural bliss of five very tight musicians that really know how to layer sound. Yes some of this comes in production but it has to ultimately come from the artist.

It is an album that shows some of the raw youth of Pablo Honey but shows a band that have performed together for a few years and have added a certain level of maturity to their sound, that rawness is still evident in Just, Bones and My Iron Lung but the sophistication comes across in The Bends and Fake Plastic Trees.

It seems a contradiction but there is also an edginess and gentle caress of naivety in tracks like [nice dream], bullet proof and of course Street Spirit but I think that this is more of a constructed naivety, a sound that the band was trying to create rather than genuine innocence in the music.

It has been a real pleasure writing about one of my all time favourite albums and it is still a CD that garners a huge amount of hours of use in my house and along with OK Computer drew myself and my now wife together back in the early 2000’s. That shared understanding of what Radiohead really means.

Album Score: 10 out of 10

Sleeve Notes/Artwork: 9 out of 10

Excellent sleeve with all of the lyrics reproduced and with a real ‘angsty’ styling to the artwork, as I said I really did get it and still haven’t stopped getting it!.

Track Listing:

  1. Planet Telex
  2. The Bends
  3. High and Dry
  4. Fake Plastic Trees
  5. Bones
  6. (Nice Dream)
  7. Just
  8. My Iron Lung
  9. Bullet Proof..I Wish I Was
  10. Black Star
  11. Sulk
  12. Street Spirit (Fade Out)

Favourite Track: Just

Tomorrow’s Review: Tuesday Night Music Club – Sheryl Crow

Next Selection: Undertow – Tool

The ‘An Album a Day’  list so far.


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