Radiohead, OK Computer

There is sheer genius here behind that incomprehensible title. It starts right away with gritty violins and the grungily insistent, meandering backbeat of "Airbag"'s intro, giving way to its exalted trilling guitars that nearly submerge Thom Yorke's vocals. There is also the satiny undulation of "Subterranean Homesick Alien," the plaintive stripped down "Exit Music (For A Film)," the mournfully lyric "Let Down," the quaveringly upbeat "No Surprises" and the luxurious sweeping floataways of the closer "The Tourist." Less accomplished, but no less worthy, are the distortion-drowned "Electioneering," the morose if expressive "Climbing Up The Walls" and the sluggish though still fascinatingly contrastive "Lucky." Yet these only comparative lesser moments are swept away by this album's triumphs, the menacingly beautiful "Karma Police" (compare with Cheap Trick's "Dream Police") and its artistic peak "Paranoid Android," a possibly unintentional prog rock throwback with distinct movements, discrete tempos and some of the most layered and complex audio construction since Alan Parsons. Its small faults make it greater; its great moments make it matter, and it is arguable if any of its contemporaries come close. The reissue "OKNOTOK 1997 2017" might as well be an entire second album: besides remastering the original such that it's never sounded better, it leads off with three brilliant unreleased tracks ("I Promise," "Man of War" and "Lift") and eight B-sides. Unlike many shovel-ons these tracks are almost as high quality as the album they didn't make and if I had a six-star option I might even award it. A little over much is the bonus cassette (!) in the boxed set, mostly short odds and sods in progress, though even these not-fully-cooked treats are nearly as tasty and old-school ZX Spectrum owners should put the cassette in their system's tape player for a bonus. (Wait, is that where the title comes from? I had a Commodore 64, you see.) (Content: no concerns.)