Most times it’s infuriating when old-fogey bands hawk new albums, ripping off what they’ve been led to believe are the “hot new sounds” of the minute, going way back to when Rolling Stones decided they needed to stop everything and become the Bee Gees. In this case, however, Radiohead have gone the extra mile, reaching that rare point where they’re ripping off bands whose core vibe was actually stolen from their own, this all subject to whether or not you believe Animal Collective’s mainframe-blooping fractal-techno (if you’re old, we’re essentially talking about stuff that sounds like Pink Floyd’s “On the Run”) was inspired by Radiohead’s own OK Computer and whatnot. Past all that, though, and as much as it would please skinny-jean wonks to say it, Radiohead aren’t a bunch of dummies, thus this LP goes beyond the notion of “we’ll show Animal Collective a thing or three” into the territory of “well I’ll be damned, Yorke actually listens to Aphex Twin and enjoys it.” But what does that really mean, aside from ensuring that a few ridiculously burnt-out critics punctuate their snark with knowing smiles? My inner pragmatist recognizes that Radiohead has great taste in ambient techno, and admits they’ve hereby mopped the floor with Animal Collective, but must insist that this is seriously not the reinvention of the G clef (nor of Radiohead; “Codex” is from the same old pit of eye-rollingly mournful slowbie-slug nonsense in which they traditionally wallow).
—Eric W. Saeger