First, haven't been here in years, and it was great reading all the fantastic insight from the Hall of Fame MT'ers (Penny, Piro, Doc, etc.). Landmark moments like a new RH LP just aren't the same without sharing with like-minders who are so perceptive and articulate. Now, on to my TKOL thoughts:
Yes, I was one of those on first listen that thought "Well, for those that have been pining for an entire album of Amnesiac B-sides, congratu-fuckin'-lations!" It seemed too much Eraser Thom, and not enough of Jonny's guitar (if at all!). And where were all the greats from the past few summers (Present Tense/Daily Mail/Walk Down The Staircase)? And what about Burn The Witch?!?!? I was one depressed hombre heading into work, intermittently emailing my friends that "the new RH dropped a day early, but not really digging it after first go".
Then I listened a second time, and it started to sink in. Then I got home and listened with headphones on and eyes closed, and it was like the clouds parting. WTF was I thinking?!?!? It's amazing! Highlights/comments for me include, but are not limited to:
1. Colin on Bloom, and Phil on the entire thing (is he really playing all of that?!?!?);
2. Love the attitude in Thom's vocal on Magpie, but I do miss the guitar riff;
3. The guitars on Little By Little are sick! I think the drum beat distracted me so much that I completely missed them on initial listen;
4. Feral is cool, but probably should have been relegated to B-side status with so many other greats still on the sidelines;
5. Holy Skip Divided at the beginning of Lotus Flower. I'm pretty sure those are Ed's handclaps. They just sound like Ed's hands;
6. I can't believe you guys aren't going more ape-shit over Codex! For me it is by far the best song and climax of the album (like Reckoner was on IR), and I haven't seen too many people mention the obvious similarities to Pyramid Song. The ghostly effect on the piano, the horns that come out of nowhere and break your soul to pieces, and probably the most melodic moments on the entire album. There's even a dash of Harry Patch-type strings at the end for good measure. This is TKOL's Street Spirit/Exit Music/HTDC/Pyramid Song/Sail to the Moon/Videotape moment, people! How are you guys missing this?!?!?;
7. Jonny's underlying guitar melody takes GUTG from solid Thom demo to instant RH classic. Gotta dig the Spinning Plates tape whirring to close it out;
8. Separator sounds like a top notch Amnesiac B-side, which is great, but maybe not to the level of other RH closers. Of course, Jonny's guitar saves the day about halfway through and takes it to another level.
Overall I am thrilled. They've done it yet again. How could I have doubted for even a minute? Can't wait to see what they do with these live.