TUESDAY, MAY 03, 2016 |
Posted by: Mike Montemarano
Only a few hours after the cryptic claymation clips broke the silence of their internet blackout, Radiohead resurfaced with the first track off of their ninth LP, entitled "Burn the Witch."
The track's accompanying video showcases claymation featuring a detective wandering around a small town to uncover some mysterious happenings, an ode to the film, The Wicker Man. Eventually, his witch hunt ends when he's tricked into entering some kind of sacrificial pyre which the townspeople use to burn him alive.
There's a lot about the new track that embodies familiarity with Radiohead's later styles, incorporating an eerie sense of an echo chamber that surrounds the central melodies. The glitchy electronic stuff that we've seen on albums such as Kid A or In Rainbows seems to be a bit more washed out, but its presence is undeniable despite being incredibly subtle in the percussion.
It seems that in the place of that musical element, there's a much greater focus on having a symphonic backing that provides a vibrant warmth to contrast Thom Yorke's cold and alienated vocal harmonies that feel quite ghostly at times. There are tinges of darkness thrown into the mix of a song that seems like it could've been part of the James Bond soundtrack that Radiohead ultimately, never went through with. The song ends with orchestral strings being rhythmically scratched, creating some screeches that make the sound delve into something that sounds much more like a horror movie, and it's extremely fitting.
There's a certain simplicity to the song, as it delves into a fearful look at conformity and the sense of being crushed by a human collective. The themes of the song certainly feel timely, especially given what's happening on presidential debate floors, in newsrooms, and within the broader culture.
"Burn the Witch" has garnered some serious hype for what lies ahead in the group's future studio releases, whose full-length debut remains unknown.