Well, after a day in the office with In Rainbows on a perpetual loop, it’s time to put to paper some first impressions. On the whole it’s more mellow and balanced than its predecessor Hail To The Thief. There’s lots of melody, but electronic influences and guitars are equally present making it a great mix. I also think it packs a little less punch than some of the great songs on HTTT, but is more satisfying as a whole album.
A quick browse through the songs:

15 Step – Love the irregular beat (5/4 I’m told)! Makes you want to figure it out immediately. I remember Ed had quite a bit of trouble getting the audience to clap along correctly at the HMH concert last year. You used to be alright, what happened, etcetera, etcetera. Thanks for whatever, 15 steps, then a sheer drop.

Bodysnatchers – Yes! Thank you! It’s got some of that Electioneering/ Pearly rock and roll vibe, and the ominous background wailing sounds of How To Disappear Completely. And there are some nice traditional angst-ridden Radiohead lyrics like Their eyes wrapped around my face.

Nude – This song has been kicking around for so long that it’s very familiar, but they’ve added some nice effects to it. I particularly like the multi-layered Thom vocals and the strings, they give the whole song something ethereal, like it’s best listened to whilst floating around on a fluffly layer of clouds.

Weird Fishes / Arpeggi – Not quite as gloomy as I had expected it to be from some of the live recordings, I much prefer it this way. It has a sophisticated buildup, turning more eery after the break. Potentially one of my favourites.

All I Need – This one’s getting a mixed reception with me today. It seems a bit monotonous at first, although when the xylophone comes in it’s a nice contrast to the heavy bassline. I’ve noticed every time today that it only starts to really grab my attention in the last minute, which is excellent!

Faust Arp – Well this one is a real surprise, it doesn’t even sound remotely familiar. A small, lovely song with more strings and gentle guitar picking, reminiscent of some of my favourite low key B-sides/ unreleased tracks like Gagging Order and Fog.

Reckoner – Good grief what happened to Reckoner? Where did the shouty guitardriven Bendsworthy song go? It’s been replaced by this much slower paced mumbled version I don’t even recognise. Too early to say if I like it as I’m still confused about the 180˚. And I was so looking forward to that jagged opening

House of Cards – Love it, something makes me want to drive around town at night with this song on. Forget about your house of cards, and I’ll deal mine.

Jigsaw Falling Into Place – This song, formerly known as Open Pick, has really turned out nicely. This song is in a hurry. Something about the delivery of the lyrics in the last minute reminds me of a personal HTTT favourite A Wolf At The Door (you know, the “flan in the face, flan in the face” rambling).

Videotape – I’m glad it’s very close to the version Thom performed for Nigel Godrich’s From The Basement. There’s the gradual addition of a beat that’s a bit like being in a train and listening to the sound of the breaks between segments of train track as you speed through the landscape. The song doesn’t really need it but I don’t mind it either. Definitely one of my favourites, up there with the piano version of Like Spinning Plates.
“You are my centre, when I spin away”

Well as far as I’m concerned they’ve done it again. I still can’t get enough of it and I must have heard the album about 10 times today. I can’t wait to be on the road in California, staring out of the window with In Rainbows playing… Just three more sleeps!!!