This collection of reworked and rare morsels from the Kid A and Amnesiac era (2000-2011) makes you realise just how many experiments a band as innovative as Radiohead leaves on the cutting room floor; not because those ideas are inferior, but because the mothership has to lift off at some point and she can only fit so many of her babies on board.
Amongst scouts into familiar snippets pulled from those two studio albums, there are some truly astonishing adaptations of long-beloved tracks here. On Pulk/Pull (True Love Waits Version) – a reimagining of Amnesiac‘s strange little ruby Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors – juddering electric guitar and bass shift the familiar elements of the song completely; formerly sprinkled with Thom Yorke’s mutterings, it’s now crowned with harmonised vocals and distinctive chord progressions which snap previously random beeps and bloops into key; it’s like suddenly noticing new details in an old photo you’ve looked at a hundred times.
On How To Disappear Into Strings (reworked from Kid A‘s How To Disappear Completely), drums have been suctioned completely out – so those Wonka-boat moments when strings slide all over each other are even more discombobulating than the original, with nothing to anchor you. Then, Yorke’s voice descends from on high like a deus ex machina, reaching down to lift us free from the mire.
Along with two individually brilliant unreleased/unheard tracks (If You Say The Word and Follow Me Around), there are no faded facsimiles here; Kid Amnesiae lifts a corner of the curtain on England’s most ingenious and exhilarating band.
Kid Amnesiae by Radiohead is out Nov 5, as part of a re-packaging of albums Kid A and Amnesiac, via XL/Remote Control.
Keep up with the latest Australian release dates for music.