Radiohead, "Harry Patch (In Memory Of)"

73 Billboard Rating

Few bands would ever think to self-release an orchestral ode to a World War I veteran, but as usual, Radiohead delivers the unexpected. "Harry Patch (In Memory Of)" starts out as a quiet, somber beauty, with delicate, swooping strings that were arranged by guitarist Jonny Greenwood and recorded live in an abbey. But about two minutes in, the song crescendos with a trill and then morphs into cryptic, "Kid A"-era dissonance. Thom Yorke's mumbled vocals require a typical close listen but deliver the most straightforward Radiohead lyrics in years, inspired by the words of Harry Patch, the last surviving British WWI veteran who recently died. Yorke mutates Patch's interview soundbites about chemical warfare into an arresting sentiment, albeit one that Radiohead fans might find a little too easy to crack.

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