It takes some time before I actually listen to this album properly. And it's not bad but kind of underwhelming to be a Radiohead record. The second half is certainly better. More melodic than the first with its loops and samples. Lotus Flower is certainly the highlight of the album. Codex and Separator being my favorites.
This is definitely a grower. It reminds me of a couple of my favorite albums (Levitate by The Fall and Before and After Science by Brian Eno) in that it sounds like the songs were at one point fully arranged but somewhere along the way they were stripped down to their essence and made into skeletal, rhythmic groovers. Good stuff that sounds more of a piece with Kid A and Amnesiac than it does Hail to the Thief and In Rainbows.
The second half is definitely better than the first half; I think that's obvious. I also think this album would've been strengthened a lot if they'd added the four B-sides ("Supercollider", "The Butcher", "The Daily Mail", "Staircase"). I know they think one of the weaknesses of Hail to the Thief was that it was too long, and adding those tracks would've made this even longer than that album, but they were a lot stronger than some of the songs that actually did make the cut. Luckily I've solved this problem by just adding those songs to the end of my playlist containing this album. Anyway, it's a good album in its own right; it just gets overshadowed because it followed the amazing In Rainbows and I guess a lot of people were expecting something just as immediate, while with this album it takes a lot of listening to decode all the nuances.
People who hate on this album are insane. This album's only flaws are that it's too short, and the first side is noticeably weaker than the second by quite a bit. This isn't to say the first side is bad, it's quite good (even though it does fall a little short of Radiohead's usual standards), but the second side is simply perfect. The atmosphere, the beats, the lyrics, the ATMOSPHERE - it's the best thing they've done since Kid A/OK Computer and one of the most absorbing and moving albums sides i've ever heard. It's just so peaceful and gorgeous.
it's not a stunner on the first listen. i mean, i was pretty disappointed when it came out. but after continuing my excursions into the electronic scenes that the band has cited as influences for this LP (i.e. the producers on the TKOL RMX series), i've come to really appreciate this record over time. i think it's subtle and nuanced, and just a total grower record. tracks like "morning mr magpie" "give up the ghost" and "bloom" are just brilliant now that i've retuned my ear and come at the record from a different angle. eager to see where they head next. i'll probs pick up Amok soon too.
I like Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors more than Magpie, Little by Little, and Feral combined. For me, it's not the lack of hooks, it's something else. But I like this album so much because of Bloom and the last 4 tracks which, IMO are among their best songs in their whole discography.