So the release of Radiohead’s new album ‘The King Of Limbs’ has been brought forward to today (18 February) after the initial plan to launch the record via a big-screen broadcast in Tokyo was cancelled. If you ordered it last week, the album should be dropping into your inbox any moment now.
And here’s the first track to emerge, ‘Lotus Flower’, which comes accompanied by a black and white video in which
Napoloon Dynamite Thom Yorke performs his trademark Charlie Chaplin-jabbed-with-a-cattle-prod dance moves.
Radiohead fans will notice the song has changed a great deal since 2009, when it was first performed solo by Thom Yorke. Back then it was a stripped-down acoustic affair, with a chunky two-note riff in the ‘I Might Be Wrong’ mould.
It’s been reborn as something far more soulful and funky, combining the sparse keyboard-and-drum machine sound of ‘Kid A’ with some of the sonic warmth of ‘In Rainbows’, complete with a reverb-drenched falsetto vocal that’s almost Prince-like in its silky lasciviousness.
Lyrically the song seems to be about transcendence, self-effacement, losing yourself in love and music (“I will shape myself into your pocket, invisible… I will slip into a groove”).
First impression? ‘Lotus Flower’ is gorgeously lush and richly layered, and shows Radiohead are sticking with the ‘In Rainbows’ approach of connecting on a gut emotional level, rather than reverting to the studied emotionless quality of ‘Amnesiac’ or ‘Hail To The Thief’. This is very good news indeed.