WASHINGTON (AP) -- The breakthrough for Radiohead on "Reckoner" - a song that underwent multiple incarnations on its way to "In Rainbows" - came by way of what Jonny Greenwood calls a "big percussion fest."
Recording in an English country house, all five members of the group make a loud, cathartic racket - a habit-busting trick the band has practiced since primary school, says bassist Colin Greenwood.
"And I'm happy to say that success hasn't changed us at all," joked Jonny Greenwood, who would rather leave the percussion to Phil Selway's drums and Thom Yorke's rhythm guitar.
Whether through the primal release of a "big percussion fest" or by severing ties with its record label, Radiohead is giving the distinct impression of a band that has exorcised something.
Since self-releasing "In Rainbows" as a pay-what-you-want digital download last fall, Radiohead has moved quickly with the tilt of innovation. They surprised fans with intimate webcasts; they offered one track, "Nude," in stripped down audio pieces for anyone to remix; they held a surprise concert so crowded that police insisted they move along.
On their seventh album, particularly on songs like the falsetto-rich R&B ballad "House of Cards" and the languorous "Nude," the music reflects the same sense of freedom. The prevailing tone of the new material is - gasp! - a melodic warmth.
And this is a drastic change for what many consider the gloomiest band on the planet.
Meet the born-again Radiohead.
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