Is it or isn't it? The question rages on. Is Radiohead's highly-anticipated new album, Hail To The Thief, a dig at W's presidency? The band denies it, but they won't be able to deny the brilliance of this sixth studio album. Thom Yorke's amazing and soulful vocals weave their way through each track, sending chills down your spine and at the same time causing you to listen more closely, to try and sort out what he's singing about that can make him emote in this fashion. Stellar tracks abound, from the albumís two kick-off tracks, "2+2=5" and "Sit Down. Stand Up," each sounding like they were built from two separate songs and fused together, the former echoing the more plaintive moments of OK Computer before the guitars roar back in The Bends fashion, while the latter also takes its first half from more mellow times, building into an "Idioteque"-like crescendo. The wondrous "There there," as featured on Player .043, is already on radio stations across the land and there is more quality lying deeper in the album, as well. Built like an aural jigsaw puzzle from bits and bobs of OK Computer, Kid A and Amnesiac, Hail To The Thief is a return to form, of sorts, to the song-based Radiohead of old. "Sail To The Moon," is vaguely reminiscent of the U.N.K.L.E. song "Rabbit In Your Headlights," to which Yorke lent his vocals. Speaking of rabbits, the strangest title in the bunch of strange titles goes to "Myxomatosis," which is, to quote The American Heritage Dictionary, Fourth Edition, "A highly infectious, usually fatal disease of rabbits that is caused by a pox virus and is characterized by many skin tumors similar to myxomas." Yeah, I won't be having any of that, then. But I will be having further helpings of Hail To The Thief, thank you, as it has yet again proven that Radiohead belong in the halls of rock & roll's greats.
JEREMY P. GOLDSTEIN