It's been over four years since Hail to the Thief leaked. I still remember reading the title online during the ramp-up to Operation Shock & Awe. My friends and I savored the Munch-esque nod to the doom Dubya wrought.
In Rainbows? Awww. Yeah, not so much. All the same, it's an apt title for this warm seventh outing. Or rather Disc 1 of LP7: just because they're rich doesn't make them saps. Disc 2 is going to cost you, mate, and won't be heard for another couple months.
The last album started with some fuzzy feedback and Thom's barely audible quip: "That's a nice way to start Jonny." This time, four dreadful years on, it's just Thom's voice and percussion. "How come I end up where I started?"
After a while the guitar drops in like "melted butter." "It's as soft as your pillow." Here we are then. Jonny on Ondes Martenot. "You used to be all right, what happened?" They're family guys now, sounds of children, but no one's complacent: "15 steps then a sheer drop."
When a band shits Tiffany cuff links like Radiohead, it's not possible to be immediately critical (over time I publicly stated, notary present, that HTTT is a bit uneven.) Right now there's just the first warm rush of recognition that comes with hearing artists at the height of their powers, mapping the architecture of our horrid zeitgeist.
In Rainbows is at once stripped-down and richly nuanced. And a thousand pretentious blog posts bloom! Cue strings! ("as your blather disappears.")
"Wish away the nightmare! You've got a light you can feel it on your back!"
"Just as you take my hand
Just as you write my number down
Just as the drinks arrive
Just as they play your favourite song
As your blather disappears
No longer wound up like a spring
Before you've had too much
Come back and focus again."