Disc Reviews

Radiohead initially released In Rainbows as a download and asked fans to decide how much they wanted to pay for it.

rainbow disk 88 224 (photo credit: )
rainbow disk 88 224
(photo credit: )
RADIOHEAD In Rainbows (BNE) I admit it - I haven't been exactly enthralled with Radiohead's output in recent years. Call me a Luddite, but Kid A and Amnesiac sound like the forced, artificial evolution of a band that created momentous music like The Bends and OK Computer. With the highly touted In Rainbows, they've decided to finally move slightly back to the middle ground between their later experimental compositions and their earlier songs featuring actual lyrics and melodies. Garnering as much attention for its mode of marketing as for its music (the band initially released In Rainbows as a download and asked fans to decide how much they wanted to pay for it), the album, which enjoyed its conventional release a couple weeks ago, cuts across all shades of Radiohead's rainbow. It flies from the pulsing rocker "Bodysnatchers" to the muted "Nude," which features one of those Thom Yorke vocals to die for, and offers the soaring "Weird Fishes," and the surprisingly straightforward "All I Need" and "House of Cards." "Reckoner" has a bit of Jimmy Sommerville and The Communards vibe, with Yorke exploring the upper register of his vocal abilities. And "Jigsaw Falling into Place" really does put all the pieces where they belong, tying the threads that Radiohead has woven together as they continue to challenge. But more importantly, as far as this Luddite is concerned, they've learned how to combine that challenge with some satisfaction. THE BEATLES Help! DVD (Helicon) The release on DVD for the first time of The Beatles' second feature film, Help!, is surely cause to celebrate. Despite its clear inferiority to A Hard Day's Night, the 1965 comedic adventure is a blast of irreverent fun that can be taken on face level for children's enjoyment or can be appreciated for the snide, inside jokes that punctuate the Fab Four's scenes. The film's senseless plot relies too much on the professional slapstick acting of the supporting cast, featuring perennial Beatles sideman Victor Spinetti, and not enough on The Beatles' engaging personalities (perhaps because, according to many insiders, the boys were indulging too much in their newly discovered hobby of smoking marijuana to perform in front of the camera with much coherency). But when they do get a sentence or two together, it's clear where the late 60s era of subversive British comedy the likes of Monty Python got its spark. But Help! really takes off when it lets The Beatles be The Beatles - which means music. The performance segments - in the studio, on the beach and on the ski slopes - are mesmerizing and are the forerunner to the music video era of MTV and a direct influence on the following year's debut of The Monkees TV show. Forty-two years later, Help! is still the ticket to ride. VARIOUS ARTISTS Control: Music from the motion picture (Hatav Hashmini) Anton Corbijn's film Control about British seminal new wave band Joy Division and their troubled singer Ian Curtis is debuting this week in Israel as part of the British Film Festival. The soundtrack is a tantalizing mix of cherry-picked Joy Division songs like "Exit," "Hypnosis" and "Transmission," and material by bands who were sources of inspiration to them like the Velvet Underground's "What Goes On," The Buzzcocks' "Boredom" and The Sex Pistols' "Problems" - the latter two in live versions. There are a couple of tunes by New Order, the band which Joy Division metamorphosed into following Curtis's suicide, and an assortment of tracks which perfectly capture the period's sense of detachment and irony, including selections by David Bowie, Kraftwerk and Iggy Pop. If the movie is as good as the music Corbijn chose, it should be a winner.