Radiohead - Com Lag: 2+2=5
Reviewed by Andreas on 27th May 2004
Lately, Radiohead have been a band people either hate or love. Personally I tend to fall in the latter category, I praise the day they stopped making music like that of 'Pablo Honey' (an album which, in my eyes, was rather horrid). However, it is easy to understand how people can be discouraged after listening to 'Kid A' and 'Amnesiac', two very challenging albums.
That said, 'Com Lag' is not for everyone, and at 14 quid (import price), it's definitely not for those who just wish to check the band out. This is a record for the fans, and more particularly, the fans who didn't buy the singles accompanying 'Hail to the thief'.
Across the 10 tracks on 'Com Lag', the listener is subjected to Thom Yorke's paranoia and rather odd ramblings. First track, "2+2=5" live at Earls Court, is haunting and scary in it's way - the falsetto chantings followed by the "You have not been paying attention!" screams can send shivers down anyone's spine. The "Los Angeles version" of album track 'I will' is a nod back to the slightly mundane stylings of 'Pablo Honey'. However, it is a beautiful song, and this (presumably) earlier version shows how it evolved from a plain guitar pop song to the thing that ended up on the album.
The downside of the EP is definitely the remixes. Having said that, the remix of 'Myxamatosis' is growing on me, the focus on the lyrics brings out the twisted side of Radiohead much better than any standard album track does. 'skttrbrain (four tet RMX)' is, on the other hand, not very good, and drags the album down on a whole.
Of the other tracks, there are a few that stand out, amongst them "I am Citizen Insane" is a favourite. Radiohead's twisted take on chill-out music is rather refreshing. Blues-y 'Gagging Order' is not to fear either, with it's chorus of 'Just a body, nothing left to see' makes for beautiful listening.
On a whole, while it is a good compilation, it is better suited for the Radiohead fan than the casual listener. The price is hard to justify as well, but personally I am quite satisfied. The fact that it's got a video of 2+2=5 live gives it extra points for style.
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