Radiohead new single and music video ‘Daydreaming’: Review

A sprawling track that bubbles but never bubbles over

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The Independent Culture

The second jewel Radiohead have plucked from their new album - ‘Daydreaming’ - is tidal (with a small ’t’, before you get worried), great swathes of piano washing back and forth as synths glisten over the top and Thom Yorke’s idiosyncratic joins in fits and starts like a struggling FM radio.

It resists the urge to build and is all the more wounding for it, maintaining a surface tension as strings begin buzzing overhead but never come in for the kill.

It’s really quite a simple track, but effective, ending darkly with an ominous, pitch-shifted, possibly reversed a cappella vocal from Yorke. I immediately raced to play the track backwards, but the line doesn’t obviously make sense a la Stairway To Heaven. What I did learn is that if you play a Radiohead single backwards, it sounds like an album track from Amnesiac or possibly Kid A. Seriously, try it.

The video is directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood, The Master) which is a big deal, but he is used as sparingly as the melodies, the video following Yorke as he walks lost/intrigued/confused/desperate from room to room, each door opening to a completely different place [Note: It’s not dissimilar from the one he recently did for Joanna Newsom that is even simpler and might be even better]

The video looks as though it’s going to finish in a car park (possible a reference to the 'Morning Bell' line "Where did you park the car?") but ultimately sees Thom curl up in a cave. Is the video’s opening in a tunnel and general theme of searching for home a reference to the refugee crisis (given ‘Burn The Witch’ got political)? Simply about the restlessness of the dreamer in modern society? Is about trying to get away from technology, so iPhone-esque are the shots? I’ll have to get hold of the lyrics and get back to you on that, because damnit Thom, you sing so nicely but you don’t enunciate.

Radiohead’s new album will be launched digitally Sunday at 7pm through XL Recordings.