Radiohead have one of the most expansive and varied discographies in modern music. Their seventh record is a unique blend of traditional instrumentation; substituting previously explored electronic elements for divine orchestral compositions. For me, In Rainbows is the band’s most refined piece of work, as well as my personal favourite.
“15 Step” acts as the ‘anti-opener’ to the album, beginning with an off-piste electronic drum rhythm before launching into the main section of the track where Jonny Greenwood’s brilliant guitar work is first documented. In the tracklisting, this drum rhythm is the only example of the experimental electronic elements found within their previous three albums, therefore it is as if the band are saying “Hey, this is what we did, but here’s something totally new” and the rest of the album follows.
One aspect has to be pointed out; the guitar work throughout the album is sublime. Both Jonny and Colin Greenwood lay down expertly crafted guitar licks and melodies that work in tandem, consistently playing off one another. “Bodysnatchers”, by far the heaviest track on the album, features tight, multi-layered distorted guitar that all in all, creates a great and memorable rock track. “Nude” is a beautiful and delicate piece that highlights Thom Yorke’s impressive vocal control. “All I Need”, similar in tone yet builds towards a glorious piano and orchestral crescendo.
Then we have “Reckoner”, which is without a doubt my favourite Radiohead track. Warm, bass-tinged electric guitar provides a sharp contrast against Phil Selway’s brash cymbals, accompanied by Yorke’s captivating falsetto. The bass rolls in, leading to a goosebump-inducing bridge, which in turn introduces the finely-crafted and mesmerising string arrangements. In Rainbows is an album for any mood and contains many special, thought-provoking moments.
Favourite track: Reckoner // Least favourite track: House of Cards