The Best Of

Well, if Radiohead bloodied the nose of the record industry with ‘In Rainbows’, this best-of release of their Parlophone back catalogue amounts to a pretty low-blow response, which should give The Man a second wind(fall). Thom Yorke has already called it “pointless”, saying, “if we’d been behind it, it might have been good”. The band will make money from it so they’re not being totally exploited, but you do have to wonder – given the units already shifted, who actually still requires an introduction to Radiohead?

Well, my mum, for one. A couple of aunties. Grannies who want to know what all the fuss is about, maybe. It will fly off the shelves at Tesco, which is a disturbing thought. This album – and it is their very best moments (a special edition with a second disc of other gems and rarities like ‘Talk Show Host’ makes things more comprehensive) – isn’t in chronological order, and it’s like stumbling through a suburban nightmare. The bedroom wail of ‘Creep’ echoes into the over-bleached kitchen of ‘No Surprises’, drifts into the garden isolation of ‘High And Dry’, falls into the dirty basement of ‘My Iron Lung’, escapes through a wardrobe into ‘There There’’s evil wood and finds ‘Lucky’’s lake. It’s quite an adventure, but you wouldn’t want Uncle Terry to go on it.

The hardcore faithful will sniff, but in the light of ‘In Rainbows’ this feels like a timely trace through the chaotic, demonic, socially displaced mind-zones that our greatest band have inhabited.

Martin Robinson

Radiohead – ‘The Best Of’ available now from the NME Store.