Radiohead fans got their first taste of new studio material today (August 5), when the group made available "Harry Patch (In Memory Of)" for download via its online store, Waste Merchandising. Unlike 'In Rainbows,' fans will have to pay for this track and won't be allowed to set a price: the five and a half minute digital file costs £1.00 or $1.70 for U.S. customers. Proceeds from the sales will be donated to the Royal British Legion.
The BBC Radio 4 website is currently streaming the track and the song pays tribute to Harry Patch, the last known British World War I veteran who passed away on July 25. Radiohead lead singer Thom Yorke was reportedly moved by an interview the BBC Radio 4 conducted with Patch in 2005.
Rightfully so, the song is a slow, string heavy production that sounds cinematic and moving, with Yorke's voice displaying a calm, almost serene like tameness. "The way he talked about war had a profound effect on me," Yorke explains on Radiohead's website. "It became the inspiration for a song that we happened to record a few weeks before his death. It was done live in an abbey. The strings were arranged by Jonny [Greenwood]."
Radiohead are currently working on their eighth studio album, the follow up to 2007's critically acclaimed "In Rainbows." The band has four shows scheduled for later this month, including headlining slots at the Leeds and Reading Festivals in the U.K.