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Thursday, 7 July 2011

Radiohead - The King Of Limbs (Newspaper Edition)

I feel this post is about two months too late to be relevant, but ah well. Unless you've been living in an internet-free zone, you'll be aware of Radiohead's latest album The King Of Limbs and the special "newspaper edition" of it that was released. I, being a sucker for special editions, went ahead and bought it. It came a good while ago now, opened as soon as it came, and since then I've been looking forward to writing about it. Why? Well, there's a fair amount of stuff to write about. Yay.

Right. The entire thing comes in this "oxo-biodegradable" plastic bag, which looks pretty cool but I ripped it open to get to everything inside (stupid me didn't use scissors) which spoils the effect a little bit. I'm not sure I like everything being held together with a fairly thin piece of plastic instead of a cardboard box/sleeve but I think the idea is that it's "degradable" (although the reverse of this says that it should last longer than me if I take care of it).

Having gotten inside the plastic sleeve, this is what we find. From left to right we have a CD of the album in a cardboard sleeve (which is fairly boring, and as such this is the only image of it in this post), the first cardboard sleeve containing the two records (the reverse of which I forgot to take a picture of. It's the same as the plastic sleeve but without "The King Of Limbs" on), the "625 tiny pieces of artwork" and the newspaper itself. Let's go through these things from right to left because why not.

The newspaper itself is a slightly odd affair. It's massive in length and contains a lot of weird artwork, as seen above. I haven't had a proper look through it yet, for reasons unknown to me, but I imagine it's all a lot like this. Pretty though.

This is the "625 tiny pieces of artwork" and, although it's cool, I expected something somewhat different from the description. In my head, it was going to be a whole bunch of tiny pieces of paper with different things on them, probably kept together in a small bag of some kind. Instead, it's just one large piece of card (or thick paper, whichever) with tiny tear-off squares arranged into a nice pattern. The bear head in the centre is, of course, distinctly "Radiohead" but I was expecting somewhat more from this. A shame.

Inside the first cardboard sleeve for the records, there is another sleeve for each one. I suppose it's necessary, since the bag itself would offer no protection and one sleeve might not be enough, but it's good to see they went the whole hog and gave firm sleeves with predictably strange artwork. This side, which I have mentally deemed the "front" of each, has some creatures with strange limbs (geddit?)...

...and the other has awesome trees (if you weren't aware, the album is named after an old oak tree in Wiltshire). I really like that these sleeves aren't plain, and the trees look really good. Good effort, chaps.

Annnnnd we have more clear vinyl! This is only my second (and, I suppose, third) piece of clear vinyl (after the Forward Russia single) and possibly some of the most well-done clear records I've ever seen. When you hold them up they look almost as though they're made of glass. They're only 10" records, but the overall package is the height of a 12" sleeve and not as wide, so it shouldn't be odd to store in a record box (when I finally get one).

Here, we're at the point where I should talk about the music itself. Perhaps this is an advantage of posting about the album a good while after it's come out, as the general opinion of this album seems to have been deteriorating since the initial good reviews. I still really, really like the album. It's a lot more like Thom Yorke's solo album than it is to past Radiohead albums, but I can only see that in a positive light. Thom's solo work is amazing, so this album is right up my street. Morning Mr Magpie, Codex and Separator are all quality tracks, and listening to this album now after not having done so for a good while, I'm finding myself still enjoying it a lot. The "two albums" prophecy never came true, which does make this seem somewhat on the short side at only 8 tracks (and somewhat on the expensive side for this newspaper edition of the album) but, frankly, it's Radiohead. If there was ever a band to deliberately not do what was expected of them, then this is that band. This album was only announced 5 days before the digital version meant to be released, and even then it was released a day early because they could. I really like this album, and I quite like the overall package. It may have been a touch expensive but I can deal with that.

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