Radiohead Com Lag (2Plus2IsFive)

[EMI; 2004]

Styles: experimental rock
Others: Björk, Sigur Ros, Autechre, Aphex

Some bands, even experienced and established ones such as Radiohead, have been known to release EPs which are basically glorified singles. They can and have slapped together a couple tracks off a recent hit album along with a few discarded songs and a live version or two along with some sort of multimedia content [oh boy! A screensaver!] in an effort to cash in on their celebrity status. Thankfully, this Oxford quintet isn't one of them and Com Lag is much more than an extended single. While there are a couple live tracks, the Radiohead back catalogue only boasts a short "best of" live recordings album in the form of 2001's I Might Be Wrong which was in itself essentially an EP teaser so live tracks are always welcome to any real Radiohead head, fans who would also argue to the death about the true live experience of this band which while impossible to definitively record is still enough of a taste to hint at the whole picture. The remixes both reimagine their source material with skill and vision but still leave them recognizable. Four Tet adds his signature brand of eclectic uptempo to "Skttrbrain" while Vogel turns "Remjxomatosis" into desolate evil pitting tin bucket snares and Thom Yorke's fragile yet purposeful voice against an ominous electronic growl. At 36 minutes, Com Lag may only be a companion disk to Hail To The Thief for some but this is just a bit too like Nigel Godrich handled the master of Hail after playing with Kid A and subsequently forgot to wash his hands thus rubbing a little of the dirty glitch production off on it for me to consider this as anything but a viable stand alone disk. So it is probably not a must have for casual Heads but if I had to buy my collection over again, I'd get this well ahead of The Bends and Pablo Honey.

1. 2+2=5 (Live at Earl's Court, London, 26/11/03)
2. Remjxomatosis (Cristian Vogel RMX)
3. I Will (Los Angeles Version)
4. Paperbag Writer
5. I Am A Wicked Child
6. I Am Citizen Insane
7. Skttrbrain (Four Tet RMX)
8. Gagging Order
9. Fog (Again) (Live)
10. Where Bluebirds Fly