Let’s be honest, that headline might as well read:
‘Radiohead Do Something Weird. Fans Prepare For New Album.’
The narrative as it is, however, is that over the course of a few hours yesterday, Radiohead’s official internet presence faded and faded, until only the bare minimum remained.
Their official Facebook page, as seen in the header of this post, is as blank as the look on the face of a Radiohead non-believer when a fan starts to exhaustively argue that ‘OK Computer’ is the defining cultural nexus of the nineties.
Their Twitter has a about as much substance to it right now as a non-believer trying to refute the aforementioned ‘OK Computer’ argument:
And their official website? Well, it’s fuckin’ empty, innit. How many similes do you need?
As stated at the outset, and as every fan — or even casual observer — has been guessing, this pretty much amounts to a dead certain confirmation of the imminent arrival of a new album. That album was originally teased to be released in June, but it looks like it may be coming to us earlier than that. And seeing as it’s been five years since ‘The King Of Limbs’, even a month’s less waiting is good news in my book.
Although not as strong a work as ‘In Rainbows’, ‘The King Of Limbs’ was still a damn good album, and it shouldn’t be forgotten that with it Radiohead helped popularise the current ‘secret album’ trend, adopted to varying degrees by artists like Drake, D’Angelo, and Beyonce, amongst others.
‘In Rainbows’, while not a secret album, was of course initially released online, via a ‘pay what you feel’ system, so Radiohead are no strangers to nontraditional album releases, announcements, distribution methods, or, well, anything else, really. As this online erasure shows they know how to play up to their image too, and they are — as much as it pains me to apply this term to Yorke and company — savvy marketers.
You know what also shows it?
These weird-as-hell leaflets that registered fans here in the UK have been receiving lately:
Umm, I just got this in the post from Radiohead. Is the new album called Burn The Witch? pic.twitter.com/zv5QKnDeGh— Niall Doherty (@NiallMDoherty) April 30, 2016
Taking all of that evidence, and piling it up alongside the recent world tour announcement, as well as the registration of two new companies — Dawn Chorus LLP and Dawnnchoruss Ltd — definitely points to one of only two possible conclusions:
1. A new album is imminent, or
2. It’s all a big prank, the world tour and everything else is a bucketful of red herrings, and Radiohead are actually returning to their home planet after receiving a distress call.
Place your bets now.
Petr Knava lives in London, loves Radiohead, and plays music