Following multiple listens of Radiohead’s ninth album, my interest was grasped to further explore their expansive back catalogue. After a couple of months exclusively listening to the band, I now fully appreciate the different musical styles they have embraced throughout their career.
A Moon Shaped Pool boasts a strong orchestral flavour and is a reinvestment in traditional instrumentation following their previous, rather synthetic album “The King of Limbs”. In terms of structure, AMSP is more conventional, carefully constructed and full of delicate intricacies.
It’s important to note that the majority of AMSP is built from tracks that are catchy and significantly melodic. “Burn the Witch” kicks off the album, with a stabbing string segment, before enveloping Thom Yorke’s dark, crooning falsetto. “Decks Dark”, perhaps one of my favourite Radiohead tracks, features a great partnership of piano and guitar. Colin Greenwood knows exactly when to fill in with low or high end bass and Jonny provides some creative reverb-soaked guitar strums that add to the overall atmosphere of the track.
Other notable mentions include “Identikit”, ending with a sharp Jonny Greenwood guitar solo. “The Numbers”, a track brimming with atmosphere, showcases the band’s capabilities to blend together traditional instrumentation and orchestration with great success. The penultimate track, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Rich Man Poor Man Beggar Man Thief” is personally, one of the highlights of the record. The track begins with a subdued tone, soon developing into an awe-inspiring and fantastic orchestral section. In my opinion, it should have closed the album, but I appreciate the band’s decision to close with “True Love Waits”.
Favourite track: Decks Dark // Least favourite track: True Love Waits