Wednesday, June 10, 2009

First Listen: Radiohead, In Rainbows Disc 2

I wasn't rich enough to order the super-deluxe version of In Rainbows back in 2007. That boxed set came with a second disc of songs from the same sessions, and I had resigned myself to waiting for the inevitable rarities compilation to hear them. But lo and behold, Radiohead has opened up a digital store, and made the eight-song bonus disc available for the princely sum of six British pounds.

It's very much worth it. As you might expect, the second disc continues the organic growth of In Rainbows - it's a little moodier and more repetitive, but these are good songs, if not quite as good as the ones that made the record. Yes, there are two useless instrumental interludes, but the six proper pieces are all varying shades of excellent. The slower ones work best, especially "Go Slowly" and gentle closer "4 Minute Warning," while "Down is the New Up" could have slotted onto the main album without any trouble.

Bonus points for the Doctor Who reference in the first line of "Up on the Ladder": "I'm stuck in the Tardis, trapped in hyperspace..." Overall, I'm pleased with this, and I hope the complete In Rainbows experience bodes well for the future of this brilliant band.

Favorite song on first listen: "Down is the New Up."

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