'IN RAINBOWS' PART II
A guide to the bonus CD in the Discbox edition of ‘In Rainbows’
After ‘In Rainbows’ caused astir with its download-only release Radiohead are at it again, releasing a second disc of new material within two months.
The deluxe Discbox version of the album – which was sent out this week – features a set of eight songs recorded at the same sessions. So, was it worth paying the £40 price-tag to get hold of ‘In Rainbows” little brother? Here’s NME’s song-by-song verdict on the new tracks.
A haunting hum from Thom Yorke and a sparkling piano waterfall are cut through by the piano riff from ‘In Rainbows” ‘Videotape’ for the first of the new tracks, clocking in at just over a minute.
DOWN IS THE NEW UP
This feels more like classic Radiohead: forceful yet intimate piano parts, taut drum patterns from Phil Selway and a bit of good old trademark wailing from Thom. Diving, filmic, orchestral flurries run like a finger tickle down the spine; think ‘Knives Out’ given the epic, silver-screen treatment. Yorke was keen to include this on ‘In Rainbows’, but the band agreed it didn’t fit with the flow of the whole album.
First played live in Blackpool in May 2006, childlike toy sound effects pluck an intricate rhythm on this slow, sparse number before acoustic guitar strums strike through the mist, giving Thom’s echoey, spectral vocals a solid platform over which he can croon.
Another interlude-style track like ‘MK 1’, but this time slightly shorter. Ghostly and sinister, it’s a bridge rather than a song as an electronic sound effect swishes up and down for 53 seconds.
Dating back to the ‘OK Computer’ sessions and repeatedly played live since, here Thom’s voice is the driving force behind one of the strongest songs of the bunch. Pianos gel with Jonny Greenwood’s gently strummed acoustic as Thom croons “If I’m gonna talk, I just wanna talk/ Please don’t interrupt, just sit back and listen/’Cos I can’t face the evening strain, you can offer me escape”. It’s the least abstract of the eight songs, musically and lyrically, and one of the most beautiful on the record.
UP ON THE LADDER
Considered for inclusion on ‘Hail To The Thief’ in 2003, Jonny Greenwood’s mean electric guitar menaces the opening as modem-esque electronics bleep hypnotically. Selway lays down a throbbing, dancey bass drum. “I’m stuck in a TARDIS”, Yorke sings before an ‘80s synth echoes in. It’s an understated but futuristic stomper that falls somewhere between David Bowie’s downbeat space fantasies and the kind of electro-thumps present on Marilyn Manson’s ‘Mechanical Animals’ album, bizarrely.
BANGERS AND MASH
Often played live, this is the most fast-paced of the new songs. Greenwood’s crunching riff hits relentlessly, as do Selway’s on-off drum-stabs. “You bit me, you bit me, you bit me... ow”, sings Yorke, before pinning on a repetitive, chanting chorus. This’ll spawn a few dance remixes.
4 MINUTE WARNING
Debuted live in Copenhagen last year, it begins with spacey effects that could soundtrack an alien spacecraft swooping over a forest before Selway pierces through with a clattering beat and Colin Greenwood’s woody, jazzy bass dabs gently. “This is just a nightmare”, sings Yorke. “Soon I’m gonna wake up/Someone’s gonna bring me round/Hiding in a forest, running through a field”. Tambourine and bass dominate this minimalist, catchy ending with Yorke sinisterly announcing “This is your warning, four-minute warning”. It’s the most catchy of the bonus songs and could even be be sung around a campfire.
NME VERDICT: 7
The £40 boxset is only really for Radiohead completists, but with the band saying they don’t mind if people find the bonus tracks online, it’s well worth a sneaky download.