Radiohead - The Bends (Vinyl)

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The Bends' is the second studio album by the English alternative rock band Radiohead. The album was produced by John Leckie in London, and engineered by Nigel Godrich, who would go on to produce all future albums by the band. The album also marked the beginning of a shift in aesthetics and themes for the band, with greater use of keyboards, and more abrasive guitar tracks balancing subtler ones. The introspective grunge-influenced style of their debut album 'Pablo Honey' (1993) evolved into more multi-layered rock with cryptic lyrics and larger ideas, as the band and singer Thom Yorke reacted against the rigors of near-constant world tours.


Radiohead's The Bends shows an almost dramatic improvement over their grunge-lite debut Pablo Honey.  Unlike the albums that would follow this one, The Bends is front-loaded with very good individual songs, like the opener, "Planet Telex," the singles, "High and Dry" and "Fake Plastic Trees," and my two favorites, "(Nice Dream)" and "Just."  Not only that, these songs are relatively free of studio tinkering.  These are well-constructed pop songs that signal the demise of "grunge" (within the new corporate model of "alternative music") and a new approach to popular guitar-based pop/rock music.  Emerging as a space-age R.E.M., Radiohead here prove they can rock, but can also produce rousing slower numbers.  In some instances, like "High and Dry" and "Fake Plastic Trees," they do both.  On The Bends, noted for the spring-recoil reverb that is spread across its tracks (thanks to overlooked producer John Leckie), they create a guitar record where the guitars sound often sound like a string-section.  Also, Thom Yorke's vocals rival Bono's for operatic rock passion (without the latter's self-importance).  While a revelation, the album ends with a thud, as a the last three songs cannot match the power of the previous nine tracks.  To a certain extent, Radiohead "arrived" with The Bends.  And while I tend to view Radiohead as a vastly overrated group, The Bends proves exactly what they are capable of.

By: Yerblues

A1 Planet Telex
A2 The Bends
A3 High And Dry
A4 Fake Plastic Trees
A5 Bones
A6 (Nice Dream)
B1 Just
B2 My Iron Lung
B3 Bullet Proof...I Wish I Was
B4 Black Star
B5 Sulk
B6 Street Spirit (Fade Out)

Recorded at Rak, The Manor, Abbey Road. Mixed at Forte Apache & Abbey Road. Mastered & edited at Abbey Road.

Dedicated to the late Bill Hicks. Also to Indigo.