Excitement levels are currently reaching peak levels over a potential new Radiohead album. But the question is, what do we actually want from a new musical instalment from the Oxford five-piece?
‘Head fans began their week with the news that the band have removed a huge chunk of their internet presence, leaving their website and social media accounts a ghostly white.
This internet blackout, coupled with flyers sent out to fans in the UK and upcoming Summer festival dates has lead to many hot under the collar for the first new album since 2011’s The King of Limbs.
Last night saw yet more cryptic messages, with this birdsong animation posted on their official Instagram.
But what can we expect from this still untitled album? Five years is a long time in the world of rock bands – will everyone be playing the same instruments? Will they be exploring a new genre? Will we have to buy a VHS player just to listen to it?
Here’s six things we’d like to see from this next stage of Thom and the gang.
1. Jonny Greenwood playing the Balalaika
We all know that Mr. Greenwood has long reached demi-God levels when it comes to playing guitar, as well as being something of a technological boffin when it comes to building synths and other electronics wonders. He’s also composed a pretty incredible film score for Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood.
The question is, what is left for Jonny to do that he’s hasn’t already done? Maybe channelling all that musical energy into a French horn, or a Tuba? All the alt guitar kids will eventually follow suit.
2. Thom Yorke bringing the Drake vibes
Thom Yorke’s transformation from the wailing grunge front man of the Pablo Honey years into a ethereal soulful lead singer has been of the most spectacular progressions of Radiohead.
Yorke recently worked with producer Mark Pritchard on the track ‘Beautiful People‘, which saw Thom take the his sexy R&B style vocal offerings to a whole new level. It will be interesting to see how much this vocal style will be reflected in the new album.
3. An insane video campaign
It’s been a good few years since the Oxford group have matched the visual heights of the videos surrounding OK Computer or their bizarre Kid A campaign, preferring a far more low key approach with later offerings.
It would be great to see ‘Head make something visually stunning and challenging in this era of online video – something fitting of their music’s own haunting nature.
4. The beginning of a new trilogy
Radiohead’s vast back catalogue has often been split into two loose trilogies or eras. The first covered The Bends, OK Computer and Kid A while the second covers Hail to the Thief, In Rainbows and The King of Limbs.
By this logic, we could possibly be moving into a third era of Radiohead, with a new sound direction and something of a clean break with the music of the past. The band talked before their last release about a reluctance to return to the studio if it was just ‘more of the same’. Maybe this attitude will push them into creating something totally unexpected?
5. Wild conspiracy theories
There’s something about the mystery of Radiohead which seems to attract conspiracy theorists.
Do you remember how Kid A was actually supposed to be played with two copies at seventeen seconds apart? Or that OK Computer and In Rainbows were a ten-year long project and one mega album? We hope that this next release offers something for the tin-foil hats of the internet to properly sink their teeth into.
Winning lottery numbers or predictions of the future would be great, guys.
6. A ridiculous release format
They revolutionised the ‘pay-what-you-wish’ online release for In Rainbows, while Thom Yorke released solo album Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes through a torrent site.
The band have removed as much of their back catalogue as they can from streaming sites and compared Google and YouTube to Nazis. So we’re looking for a new album available only on Laser Disc, delivered by hand by Phil Selway.
Main image: Getty