Picks and Pans Review: Amnesiac

updated 06/11/2001 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/11/2001 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Radiohead (Capitol)

Album of the week

In a time when Radiohead lite is everywhere, the lords of British art-rock pick up where they left off on last October's spacey Kid A, a triumphantly weird, oft-maligned disc. It came out at No. 1 on the charts despite its heavy reliance on a digital toy box of blips and chords generated at random.

Not a band to bend to criticism, Radiohead revs up its chain saw with more tunes for the anti-commercial masses. "Push Pull Revolving Doors" and "Life in a Glasshouse," with their eerie, unpredictable blends of electronica and jazz, were recorded in the Kid A sessions, and on the uniquely titled "Packed Like Sardines in a Crushed Tin Box," moody frontman Thorn Yorke repeats, "I'm a reasonable man/Get off my case, get off my case" to a pulsing backbeat.

Other songs, though, return to the more straightforward guitar rock of Radiohead's earlier work, while the first single, "Pyramid Song," is a strings-laden poem that finds Yorke in fine lamenting form ("There's nothing to feel, nothing at all"). The instrumental "Hunting Bears" shows off the band's polished, if underused, acoustic chops. Despite the dizzying angst on Amnesiac, Radiohead never loses its balance on the edge.

Bottom Line: More Kid stuff

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