Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool

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For quite a few people "A Moon Shaped Pool" will be considered the best Radiohead album of all times. At least for a while. Because the UK five-piece around front man Thom Yorke will not be able to avoid his two music-historical monuments "OK Computer" and "Kid A" even with his ninth longplayer. Nevertheless, it is an excellent album that should quite rightly appear in almost every serious top list towards the end of the year.

There's a reason for this: rarely before has the fusion of so many musical styles (alternative, electronica, ambient, classical, chamber music, choirs, jazz, folk, etc.) succeeded so seamlessly as on the new album by the indie legend from Oxfordshire. The means used are strictly in the service of the usual first-class songwriting. Thus Radiohead accomplish the unlikely feat of never slipping into the bombastic despite all the pulled stops, but to let their new songs sound and appear minimalistic and organic. They will open doors for new listeners.

This is mainly due to the amazing flow of the album: Contrary to all stylistic diversity and supposed breaks between the songs, (almost) everything is in the right place here - from the opener "Burn The Witch" with its percussive string arrangements to ethereal numbers like "Daydreaming", "Decks Dark" and "Desert Island Disk" to the wistfully conciliatory piano closing ballad "True Love Waits". Everything flows. Whereby the electronically dominated, comparatively energetic interrupters "Ful Stop" and "Identikit" function as points of contrast, but still fit smoothly into the big picture. Greatly arranged build-ups provide the necessary variety and tension at the right moment on this all in all very relaxed musical journey. The recent experiences of multi-instrumentalist Jonny Greenwood as an Oscar-winning soundtrack composer are everywhere noticeable.

Only in the somewhat weaker last third of the new album do the exceptional English musicians suddenly want too much of a good thing and therefore stumble a bit. Especially "The Numbers" is bursting at the seams and looks as if you accidentally heard three songs at once. But of course this is a matter of taste. Especially since "A Moon Shaped Pool" changes with every listen anyway. The songs seem to grow, develop and reveal new facets, nuances and layers over and over again - and the deeper you penetrate into the dynamic, labyrinthine and last but not least also lyrical-cryptic inner life of this complex sound art work, the more it fascinates you. And the more it touches you emotionally. Which is probably the greatest strength of the album: It never leaves you cold. Only great art can do that, and you can assume that Radiohead have thought of something.