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LONDON ISLINGTON SMASHED!
by Keith Cameron

(Presentation of the article in the NME Originals issue about Radiohead from 2003)



BY ALL accounts - primarily their own - Radiohead are Angry Young Men. And with good cause. Gig convention has it that the band's-mates-down-the-front scenario is a cast-iron portent of dodginess. In Radiohead's case, the fact that none of their mates can dance merely compounds the issue.



In truth, Radiohead aren't angry at all. Despite much scowling, griping and generally screaming his bollocks off, come the end of a song, Thom Yorke looks a little sorry for getting so worked up and says "Thank you". This is the man who acts the iconoclast bastard, sneers "I'm a creep" and then gratefully pays tribute to us for all bothering to show up. Cathal Coughlan he ain't.



Yet Thom, charismatic in an ugly sorta way, is the only vaguely interesting thing about Radiohead, a band who play tight, slightly noisy power pop and, er, that's it. Mannered beyond belief - look, trying not to offend too much never did anyone any good - the five hammer gamely at their slightly camp (but not too much), vaguely dissonant (ooh, but careful, not too loud) mod-ish (but hey, we're lookin' to the future) blueprint and can barely fathom a decent tuneful moment in their allotted 40 minutes. The single 'Creep' is the best stab, but then seeing as it's lifted from the Hollies' 'The Air That I Breathe' it damn well should be. Strangely enough, Radiohead's other contender, 'Faithless The Wonder Boy' (yech!), also closely mirrors a saccharin classic from yesteryonks, The Everly Brothers' 'Crying In The Rain'. Only not as good.



Were I an A&R type, I'd say something terminally crass like "Sack the band, give the singer a publishing deal". As things stand, however, Radiohead are a pitiful, lily-livered excuse for a rock 'n' roll group.