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Recorded during the Kid A sessions, the band promised Amnesiac would be more of a rock album than Kid A, but that's hardly the case. Whilst it's arguably more accessible than Kid A, it delves even deeper into electronic territory, with many of these tracks having little guitar at all, and so it's quite a distance from The Bends.

Amnesiac is perhaps more cohesive in tone, but it's even less song-orientated than its predecessor. There's almost a case for saying that the strongest material from this and Kid A should've been consolidated into one record (though they're both strong enough to merit individual release), as "Morning Bell" from Kid A is recorded again here, only helping to make a separate release for Amnesiac seem redundant.

There's no denying however that this album has its own highlights - the somber yet trippy "You and Whose Army", and the rocking guitars and burbling electronics of "I Might Be Wrong" are two clear examples. The transition from the electronica of "Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box" to the stately piano of "Pyramid Song" gets me every time, and the well-sequenced first half alternates between trippy electronic tracks and slow piano pieces - I normally get turned off by electronica, but "Pulk / Pull Revolving Doors" is entertaining, what with its awesome stops where it drops down to just a little keyboard twinkle.

The album's second half isn't as memorable - "Hunting Bears" isn't really anything more than experimental guitar noise, and "Dollars and Cents" isn't very exciting either. In fact, Amnesiac is one of the most front-loaded albums I've encountered - the first six songs are all better than anything on the second half. So the lack of a strong second half makes Amnesiac the weakest Radiohead studio album since Pablo Honey, but it still has its share of highlights and anyone who enjoys the band's key albums would be foolish to pass this up.

Rated:
by Reviewer: Fyfeopedia

Posted: Wednesday 4th Mar 2015 5:18 PM

review
As mentioned in my review of the short-lived companion series 20 Golden Star Tracks, the 20 Solid Gold Hits series was set up to pre-empt K-Tel from establishing its brand in New Zealand, and ran for about twelve years and around 36 volumes.

In its early days, the series featured material that was a reasonably representative cross-section of the pop singles charts, and included plenty of numbers with at least some replay value. By this stage though, the series was in decline and seeing severely diminished sales compared to its heyday, such that volumes numbered beyond about Vol.18 are nowadays next-to-impossible to find.

The drop in quality was probably partly due to royalty / licensing difficulties preventing the best chart material from being included, as by the early 1980's hit singles (originating from the UK anyway) came from newly-emerged independent labels like Rough Trade and Stiff. So there's no New Wave material here at all, or even any New Romantics like ABC or Spandau Ballet.

So Vol.22 is dominated by acts from the USA, and much of Side One is given over to low-grade disco, none of which was of much merit even at the time it was released, let alone durable enough to be worth hearing thirty years later. Overall then, the side only rates at a lowly 1½ to 2 stars.

At 3 stars, Side Two is nominally more listenable, including as it does a couple of modestly meritable numbers in Hot Chocolate's "Every 1's a Winner" and 10cc's "Dreadlock Holiday". The best of the bunch though is the Little River Band's pastiche of Chicago and Manhattan Transfer titled "Reminiscing", in such poor company it comes across like a 5-star track. And the side closes with a number by the obligatory New Zealand representative - the kiwi answer to Engelbert Humperdinck - John Rowles.

All in all, this collection is mostly commercial radio fodder - the stuff DJs play inbetween advertising jingles, that would've probably seemed more musically creative than the stuff here, which leaves me thinking if these were the A-sides, the B-sides would've been hard-pressed to be any worse.

Rated:
by Reviewer: bluemoon

Posted: Wednesday 4th Mar 2015 11:27 PM

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