Filling the gulf between OK Computer
s epic progressive rock and Kid A
s skittering electronic theatrics, Hail to the Thief
borrows equally from each. Its title implies that this will be a collection filled with songs of anger and dissent, but Radiohead no longer howl at the moon like they did on 1995s The Bends
. Instead, they use eloquent metaphors and complicated arrangements to express the uncertainty, fear and anger arising from the 2000 U.S. presidential election and a post-9/11 world. Theres no doubt about where Thom Yorke and company stand; the prog-rock break on "2 + 2 = 5" and Yorkes terror at the thought of being "put in a box" make that immediately clear. But there's a prevailing sense of powerlessness here. The tinkling piano behind the cold sonic surface of "Backdrifts" and the brief, swooping melody in the middle of "Sail to the Moon" are islands in a sea of confusion. Like all of the bands best work, Thief
requires more than a few listens to fully appreciate, but those who stick around will be richly rewarded. --Matthew Cooke
Double vinyl LP repressing of this Radiohead classic, originally released in 2003. Capitol. 2008.