Radiohead - Jigsaw falling into place

Bill Cummings 17/01/2008

Rating: 4/5

When Radiohead made their latest album “In Rainbows” available to download for "whatever you were willing to pay for it" back at the beginning of December 07, it was seen as the beginning of a revolution in musical distribution by larger acts. In reality it was just a brave reflection of the way music is increasingly shared and consumed by music listeners, it was a clever slight of hand leaking it before it could be leaked online, by a band who have often been ahead of the curve. Leaving EMI and being between labels presumably freed up the band and allowed them to try such an experiment, it also felt like an attempt to get a record out there in a timely fashion. This was more in keeping with the DIY back to basics way it had been produced, it was the sound of a band increasingly comfortable in their own skin, stripping away the unusual sounds that inhabited much of Kid A or last album Hail To The Thief, but retaining the sense of experimentation with rhythm and form that Radiohead have pioneered in recent years. It felt like a fresh sentiment, an organic, airy album full of time changes, human instrumentation and subtle melodies that were allowed space to breathe and seep their way into your brain on repeated listens.

For an album that is very much a mood piece full of songs that flow into each other, rather than a series of individual songs, it was hard to see which song would be plucked as the first single, but in the US did its work and a chart dictated that one of the more immediate cuts “Jigsaw...” had racked up the most plays so it was deemed. Really, it's because it's a refreshing beast of a song that delightfully uncoils, ushered in by sighing moans, a dexterous bass line and jazzy, twisting acoustic guitar notes that snake their way through its clicking propelling rhythm. “Jigsaw....” sees Thom Yorke in that most unusual of positions (for a Radiohead song), on a "date." Twitching observational thoughts swirl around your subconscious, delivered in a deadpan hypnotic tone, the rhythm builds and builds allowing York to finally unfurl his trademark rasp with cut up violent imagery ("What's the point of instruments/ Words are a sawed off shotgun") before they're all lost in a mess of bodies on the dance floor and the song gets "lost between the notes," self reflexive of the song's almost mantra-like rhythmic powers. Suddenly, it's all over, a night of intense anticipation, excitement and disappointment...a typical date if you ask me...