Capitol Records, 2001

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


Is Amnesiac -- a.k.a. Kid B -- as good as Kid A? One thing is for sure; Kid B would've been disc two had Kid A been a double album. Amnesiac contains the residual tracks which didn't make it; hence, it is just an extension of Kid A. So, how much does Amnesiac weigh against its predecessor? What could've been disc two" couldn't be far off from "disc one," could it? Well, Amnesiac is as machine-like, as de-humanized, as alienated, and as synthetically yours, as my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Kid A.

This unmoving album starts off with "Packt Like Sardines In A Crushed Tin Box": a perfect track to admonish the listener of the hostilities following it; and yes, as usual, singer Thom Yorke does sound as if he is an alien in some Steven Spielberg movie. As if exemplifying the parody of our so-called 'civilized' society, this song is followed up by a hauntingly sweet, melodious and very human-like "Pyramid Song." It is probably Radiohead's way of contradicting the opening track. But, Radiohead couldn't carry on much without de-humanizing their songs, could they? From the third song (whose crazy beat Missy Elliot would appreciate) onwards, the album drapes itself with deliberate discomfort into a self-spun cocoon, alienating itself as much as possible from our evil planet and a couple of others around it.

The album progresses, getting more and more irritatingly illegible until one eventually gets to know the genius of this band. Radiohead proves that they can be brilliant musicians, producing sounds which seem as un-music-like as possible, giving a whole new dimension to musicality.

In the midst of all the disorientation of the album suddenly blossom "I Might Be Wrong" and "Knives Out", assuring that Amnesiac is an album created by humans of our age, not by the people of the future playing around with their time machines to get a taste of the primitive age of 2001. It is unbelievable how the band segues in a trice to real sound amidst their bombardment of surrealistic ones.

Kid A was a very brave effort by Radiohead, something which they -- or as a matter of fact -- no other band has done before. Amnesiac, the follow-up, doesn't conjure up that much of an element of surprise, since its offbeat Kid A-ish sound was expected of it. So, even though it doesn't seem as special as Kid A, Amnesiac is an essential addition to it, surely not to be done without. In fact, neither Amnesiac nor Kid A seems complete without the other.

Rating: B+

User Rating: A



© 2004 Vish Iyer and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Capitol Records, and is used for informational purposes only.