Newest Review: ... that changed music". Mind you, they also claimed that without Radiohead, Coldplay would not exist. I consider this a foul slur and ... more
My fake Chinese rubber plant
The Bends - Radiohead
Member Name: Danscomp
The Bends - Radiohead
Advantages: Their most accessible Album
Radiohead - The Bends
Radiohead are a funny old band. They've gone from fairly frequent interlaced guitar work with a grunge flavour to a more experimental sound. I mention this in case you've heard a track from their initial "Guitar" period such as Creep, or The Bends or High and Dry and assume their later stuff is going to be similar. Apart from a brief return with the Album Hail to the Thief, It is not.
If you have heard any of the aforementioned songs and thought to yourself, "I'd like a bit of that", then the best Album to buy remains 1995's "The Bends". This follow up to Pablo Honey would be cited by the Observer as one of "the 50 albums that changed music".
Mind you, they also claimed that without Radiohead, Coldplay would not exist. I consider this a foul slur and believe that Coldplay exist purely to spread tedium, mediocrity and smugness throughout the world in accordance with their master, Beelzebub's plan.
What's in the tin
The Bends contains 12 tracks, of which none are duds. That achievement alone is a great one. Planet telex, Bones and Just provide the rawest rockiest tracks on the album. Hitting the middle ground are the toe-tappingly good The Bends, High and Dry, Black Star and Nice Dream. Moving onto slower ground, we have the outstanding arpeggio in Fade Away and the insane Fake Plastic Trees.
It is this coverage of three distinct areas that helps keep this Album fresh for me. Too often, you will listen to an Album where tracks are too similar, where the same patterns and transitions crop up, again and again. On other occasions, you'll have a couple of banner tracks with the remainder b-side material at best. Not here you won't.
Thom Yorke's vocals would never compete with Kobain or Plant or Johnson. They're not about power, they are about expression, working their way around lyrics that speak of angst or absurdity. Melding with the music rather than dominating it.
There is a trade off here, in as much as sometimes you want him to just punch it out, but sense that's never going to happen. Not here, not anywhere. At times, dreariness does start to creep in, but never stays very long.
Johnny Greenwood's guitar work is frequently underappreciated in much the same way as Graham Cox. Although he is a multi-instrumentalist, and would go on to lead the electronic direction in the personally (i.e. for me) disappointing OK Computer, it is on the most recognisable of Radiohead's tracks that you'll hear him playing an acoustic or a telecaster.
Between Yorke and Greenwood came the vast majority of the song writing. The remainder of the bank consisted of his older brother, Richard Greenwood on Bass, Ed O'Brien on backing vocals and supporting Guitar work, Phil Selway on Drums and a couple of supporting classical instrument players on cello and violin.
The Bends can be yours new for under £7, but why not do what I am increasingly doing, and buy a used (good) CD for under £2 and rip the music to your iPod?
Summary: Buy it!