Ahhh, the dreaded sophomore record. Bands either fail to deliver anything substantial under the pressure or rise to the occasion triumphantly.
By no means was Brit-Pop dead in 1995 but it was apparent that Radiohead were heading down their own path from the opening notes of Planet Telex and continuing through guitar-driven moments such as Just and My Iron Lung and through softer moments like Fake Plastic Trees and Street Spirit (Fade Out).
The 21 tracks appearing on the second disc of this set come from a variety of sources: The disc starts with the My Iron Lung EP (which was released in Canada prior to The Bends) before heading into a beautiful spread of lives tracks and B-sides including the fantastic trip-hop inspired Talk Show Host as well as acoustic versions of Fake Plastic Trees and Street Spirit.
The DVD included in this collector’s edition features the five videos released to promote the record (including a US an a UK version of High and Dry). There are eight tracks taken from a May 1994 performance at the Astoria in London as well as a collection of various entertainment show appearances such as Top Of The Pops and Later, with Jools Holland.
With The Bends, Radiohead were starting to realize that music had no boundaries which they couldn’t touch; a musical revelation that would be expanded even further upon with 1997’s OK Computer record which will be featured next week.