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First impressions are pretty damn good. It’s dreamy, eerie, epic, soaring, soothing, very occasionally manic... and more.
Olaf Tyaransen, 18 Oct 2007
First things first. A credit card ‘service fee’ of 45 olde English pennies aside, hotpress paid a grand total of absolutely nada into Radiohead’s much discussed ‘honesty box’ for downloading In Rainbows.
It’s an interesting idea and all, but sorry, we just don’t pay for review copies round these parts. No exceptions. Anyway, while Bono and Bob are working hard to Make Poverty History, with their innovative but risky ‘pay whatever you think it’s worth’ approach Radiohead seem to be doing their damnedest to Make Record Companies History. Certainly this is one of the first ever albums to get serious coverage in the Financial Times.
Many music fans will undoubtedly applaud their sticking it to ‘The Man’ like this, but, unfashionable and all as it is to praise the major corporations, it’s worth noting that, without solid support from EMI over their previous six albums, Radiohead would never have been in a position to pull off this stunt.
Apparently 1.2 million people downloaded it on the day of its release, but it’s still too early to tell just how big their eventual pot of gold at the end of In Rainbows will be. If mega-wealthy acts like U2 or Madonna tried this approach, they’d undoubtedly get royally screwed by a public that thinks they’re obscenely-rich enough already, thanks very much. Radiohead certainly aren’t in that financial league, but they’re still millionaires. They may yet regret calling their last album Hail To The Thief.
But enough about their sales strategy. What’s In Rainbows actually like? Well, come on, it’s a Nigel Godrich-produced Radiohead album and it took them almost three years to make (during which time they apparently seriously countenanced splitting up). What the fuck do you think it’s like?
Needless to say, fans won’t be disappointed. There may even be some converts. With Radiohead, nowadays, it’s never really a question of ‘is it any good?’ Instead you ask, ‘how good is it?’ The answer here is ‘extremely’.