Tuesday, July 22, 2008

More Twee than you'll Ever Be

What follows is a post on Radiohead. Yes, indeed, the contents of this blog post, entitled "More twee than you'll ever be"... yes, indeed, the same twee music of Belle and Sebastian (check out the Monty Python-esque vibe of that video), Beat Happening, and more modern experimentalists Architecture in Helsinki... concern Radiohead.

So I guess that's a warning, if you'd like to call it that.

Yesterday, I saw myself digging into the more obscure parts of the Radiohead discography. Though this is old news - the tape was posted online in 2006 - Radiohead did a series of demos under their former name, "On a Friday". Essentially, On a Friday and Radiohead differed in that On a Friday had a three-piece saxophone section (!), whereas that would never happen in Radiohead.

The On a Friday stuff is vastly different from early Radiohead. Which connects the whole twee thing to Radiohead. What's strange about the 1988 demo is that it shows that Radiohead's origins are in the twee pop movement. That makes sense, though; Radiohead were concieved as a guitar -based band. And that Radiohead changed their sound quite considerably before what we consider as their debut, the grungy "Pablo Honey"

Personally, I've always been dissappointed in Pablo Honey - as have most people who listen to Radiohead. But listening to the really early stuff puts pablo Honey into a different light. Now, Pablo Honey is not, as I might want to believe, a band trying to find their sound - the search more evident in the '88 demo - but a band that's regressing in the apparent search for mainstream success. Pablo Honey's not just disappointing anymore - it's disgusting.

What's really strange about these demos is that they eerily resemble Belle and Sebastian - a band that had not been concieved at that point in time. With "Happy Song," it's the prominent horn choruses, the sixteenth-note rhythm guitar, the bright production, and the conventional chord progression. With "Sinking Ship," it's more of a Belle and Sebastian meets R.E.M. hybrid.

The middle track, "To be a Brilliant Light," sounds more like Pink Floyd scoring a daytime soap opera and drops the whole twee thing altogether.

Do check these out - they're actually quite good.
Radiohead/On A Friday - 1988 Demos (13.44 MB, 3 tracks, 9:59)

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