Rock & Roll Report Card

Radiohead's In Rainbows
Radiohead's In Rainbows
Credit: 
Supplied
Kevin Drew, Spirit If...
Kevin Drew, Spirit If...
Credit: 
Supplied

B+
78%

Radiohead
In Rainbows
XL

As a whole, this album has the basic components of any Radiohead album: the acoustic and electric guitars, drums, synthesizer and the beautiful (yet at times haunting) vocals of Thom Yorke. The hearsay was true—the band released In Rainbows online, and fans were able to choose their own price. Given this fact, one could only speculate on the quality of this album. This can be said: this album is definitely priceless to hardcore Radiohead fans.

The acoustic introduction of “Jigsaw Falling into Place” exudes a feeling of anticipation, which only builds as Yorke’s vocals enter and convey a man’s perspective during a night at the bar. Following the exchange of this man’s number with a woman, and as more alcohol has been placed before them, Yorke’s voice picks up with the lyrics, “as the beat goes round” and the listener finds he or she has not been anticipating this new record without reason.

Each song on this album has a different feel to it but the same overall atmosphere. Consequently, the album requires a close listen in its entirety.

“Reckoner” is a song predominately comprised of a continuous maraca—a tiny detail that carries the song—and an up-tempo drumbeat. In contrast, the track “All I Need” is a slow, but wonderful song with drums and synthesizers.

Personally, my favorite song is “Videotape;” a heart-wrenching track concerning the videotape left by someone for their lover after their death. With references to the devil pulling at the legs of the deceased at “the pearly white gates,” and a constant piano rhythm within the song, the listener is forced to focus on Yorke’s vocals—in all his wondrous melancholy.

—Scott Turcotte

A
82%

Kevin Drew
Spirit If...
Arts & Crafts

The first of the “Broken Social Scene Presents…” series, Kevin Drew’s solo album, Spirit If, is the perfect soundtrack for this season’s cool weather and rainy days.

The album is produced in a cycle—the first song is titled “Farewell to the Pressure Kids” and the last is “When it Begins.” The music is a poppy, emotional wash of lyric and sound, heavy on synth and piano.

Most of the lyrics were improvised during recording, which gives the album a feeling of incompletion and realism, matching the album thematically.

Broken Social Scene fans will find Spirit If familiar territory, but Drew’s solo album also spotlights his independent talent as both singer and songwriter.

—Meghan Sheffield

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.