20 years ago today, Parlophone Records released Radiohead’s 2nd LP, The Bends. After the commercial success of their debut Pablo Honey (and its single, “Creep”) the band had been given $ and latitude to stretch a bit. The resulting LP, The Bends, leaped well beyond its predecessor. It is still fairly straight-forward guitar rock, but hinted at greater potential that was largely absent from the adequate, but not seminal, Pablo Honey. Lots of hit singles on the album. Some ballads. Quite radio-friendly. More impressive is the fact that the singles’ b-sides are as good as the LP tracks. Maquiladora, Killer Cars, Banana Co., Molasses, Talk Show Host, Bishop’s Robes, India Rubber, How Can You be Sure, etc… Also, the preceding My Iron Lung EP with its great tracks. All great tracks. In other words, the studio sessions that produced The Bends, produced a lot more than just the LP. In subsequent releases the band would morph and grow and expand and reinvent itself multiple times – until now – they are widely recognized as one of the most influential bands of the past couple decades. I didn’t “get” them until late, and early on The Bends, was my favorite album of theirs. Probably not anymore, but it still is great!
I compel you to give it a listen today.
A few of the b-sides