Radiohead: London Camden Underworld
(Presentation of the article in the NME Originals issue about Radiohead from 2003)
STRANGE ONE, this. A brace of bands - one from each side of the Atlantic - who perhaps aren't as 'credible' or (shucks) 'cool' as certain fringe-flicking contemporaries, striving to clamber up pop's league table. Yeah, in soccer terms this is like Norwich City versus QPR. And look where they are.
Out of all the dark horses currently flogging themselves around the circuit, Oxford's Radiohead are more shadowy than most. A fraught fivesome with ants in their pants and, presumably, cockroaches in their coat pokers, they're all about threats and menace and a three-guitar assault which owes rather a lot to tykes like the Pixies but has absolutely no intention of paying the buggers back.
They've also got a song called 'Creep' (the next single, notch), which has a habit of making innocent bystanders go, "Jeez, what the f--- is THAT?". It's lovely in a thoroughly vile way, full of self-contempt, swearing (remember, these people are on EMI) and marvelously evil clanging bits from guitarist Jonny Greenwood.
Surround those splendid three minutes with plenty of screaming, attitude with a capital 'TUDE' and a song called 'Anyone Can Play Guitar' and it's apparent that Radiohead are at least halfway towards realising some worryingly aggressive ambitions. A cathartic education, anyone?