Picks and Pans Review: Pablo Honey

updated 08/02/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/02/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Radiohead

The startling pop song "Creep," by the British band Radiohead, starts as a gentle ode to love. Then a few sputtering guitar chords spark an explosive org of self-loathing. "You're f—king special," lead singer Thorn Yorke moans, "But I'm a creep/ I'm a weirdo/ What the hell am I doing here?/I don't belong here."

Is this punk rock meets Admiral Stockdale? No, seriously, what we have here is the most gripping descent into love's dark regrets since Bonnie Raitt belted out Randy Newman's "Guilty" in 1973. Yorke's voice builds in passion till it's almost embarrassing.

Recorded in one take when the band didn't know that the microphone was on, "Creep" has rare spontaneity. Most of the 12 songs on Radiohead's debut album have other merits. Yorke's voice, which often resembles that of U2's Bono, sounds urgent and earnest as the quintet's three lead guitarists alternate between squalls and cirrus wisps. At its best, the band counteracts depressive lyrics with feisty energy. "I'm spitting on the hand that feeds me/I will not control myself," Yorke sings in "Vegetable." Alas, poor Yorke! He is a creep. But that's what makes Radiohead so, uh, special. (Capitol)

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