Radiohead have released their new album In Rainbows online, and music critics have been quick to give their verdicts.
THE TIMES - Pete Paphides
Ever since OK Computer made them big enough to ignore the advice of those around them, Radiohead have somehow beaten down a path between the expectations of their fans and the abyss of absolute freedom...
Radiohead let fans choose how much they paid for In Rainbows
In Rainbows was sent to me at 6.30am. Three hours later, this insidious index of sonic surprises is stacking up in my mind, like planes waiting to land. The trick, I guess, is to give your fans what they didn't know they wanted. Radiohead, old hands at this, have been doing it for over a decade now. With In Rainbows, they appear to have done it again.
WIRED - Eliot Van Buskirk
Fans expecting a sonic revolution on the magnitude of Kid A are likely to be disappointed, In Rainbows representing an expansion of earlier Radiohead ideas rather than a departure from them. Likewise, anyone looking for the dramatic anthems from the band's earlier albums will prefer to keep listening to those.
But the more I listen to In Rainbows, the more I notice the sort of subtle touches, sonic variety and chordal development that could make the album a so-called 'grower' with Radiohead fans. It simply gets better with each listen.
THE GUARDIAN - Alexis Petridis
Radiohead sound like they're enjoying themselves, not least on Bodysnatchers, which features a gleefully propulsive bass riff. In the parlance of the middle American sports stadium crowds with whom Radiohead have such a troubled relationship, it rocks.
The most heartening thing about In Rainbows, besides the fact that it may represent the strongest collection of songs Radiohead have assembled for a decade, is that it ventures into new emotional territories.
ROLLING STONE - Rob Sheffield
Like every other Radiohead album except Kid A - still their most famous album, but they only made it once - In Rainbows has uptempo guitar songs and moody acoustic ballads, full of headphone-tweaking sound effects.
All of it rocks; none of it sounds like any other band on earth; it delivers an emotional punch that proves all other rock stars owe us an apology.
DAILY TELEGRAPH - Robert Sandall
Here, back at last, is the magic ingredient that has been lacking, or at least hiding on Radiohead records ever since a highly disgruntled Thom Yorke came off the road exhausted in 1999 and announced that he had 'had it with melody'...
Radiohead aren't obviously trying to reclaim ground they surrendered after their world conquest with OK Computer... They've done epic, for the time being anyway. For all that, their seventh album sits far closer to their third than it does to their sixth.
BLOGCRITICS - Glen Boyd
What becomes most apparent on an initial listen is that In Rainbows is an album that doesn't just suggest, but absolutely demands repeated listenings because it is so densely layered.
As much as the music included on In Rainbows seems to be drawn from a variety of different sources and time periods, the album still stands as a cohesive, unified work. It is deeply atmospheric in places, while dark, dense, and gorgeous in others.
THE INDEPENDENT - Andy Gill
Given [Thom] Yorke's keening vocal manner and his impressionistic lyric style, it's too early yet to state with any certainty what the individual tracks are actually about, but taken as an overall experience, In Rainbows offers plenty to comfort those fans perplexed by Radiohead's recent jazz-odyssey excursions - not least in its prevailing mood of dark but stylish weltschmerz - but doesn't turn away completely from their more testing musical questing.
WASHINGTON POST - David Malitz
The instant musical legacy of In Rainbows is simply that it's the fourth- or fifth-best Radiohead album... The compositions are mostly minimal but organic; the band's post-millennial tension seems to have eased and even constantly twitchy singer Thom Yorke sounds relaxed.
In Rainbows is arguably Radiohead's least ambitious album to date, at least when compared with previous offerings. There is no great artistic leap as found on OK Computer or dramatic genre shift as on Kid A. It's instead a summation of the different sounds the band has embraced over the past decade.