In my opinion, they are the second best band still active, only after Porcupine Tree. They are very innovative and dare to experiment, never get stuck and have songs that'll blow your head!, Thom Yorke's voice is quite unique and very good, despite what may seem at first impression. Greenwood's guitar is one of the bests these days.
Just listen to songs like Paranoid Android and Jigsaw Falling into Place. If you want to hear something more experimental, Pyramyd or Idioteque are good choices. But for me, the song that really blows my head off and touches me in the deepest places of my soul is Lucky. This is an awesome rock song. That guitar… grrrrrr. I shiver just to think about it.
Looking back, from "Pablo Honey", their first album, which includes the world famous 'Creep', to their last two albums, "In Rainbows" and “The king of limbs”, they all have a common denominator: a remarkable artistic expression and the constant search for something new.
Ok computer is definitely one of the best CDs in rock history. Almost every song has the potential to be a hit but they are not a monotonous and simple combination of chords. This, I must say, is another characteristic of them. Their music is complex (at least much more complex than most of the crap that have been produced in the last 20 years) but you can get it easily. At least that is my case. I think that the reason is that their songs can be listen without paying them much attention and many would say that they are nice tunes. But when you sit down and start listening carefully and looking for the immense amount of details that this guys put in them you can entertain yourself for days and days. However, all this details don´t get in the middle of the bases.
This characteristic has been “optimized” on their last two CDs. They sound extremely basic, without so many sounds, and you can´t avoid thinking that they haven´t put so much effort on it the first time you listen to them. However, you also can´t avoid noticing that something deeper is going on. And the fact is, that it is!!!
Another thing to note is that they are opening a new path for business in the music industry. In rainbows, for example was released on the Internet from a website and people put the price they wanted, so you could downloaded it for free if you wanted. After this period of shock, they released a pack in CD and vinyl version at a specified price. They have made something similar with The king of limbs. One of the best bands in the world has no contracts with any label because they know they are better off without the vampires of the industry. Radiohead does not only leads the way with her artistic offerings, but also as media pioneers.
A curious fact is that all band members have a college degree except for Jonny Greenwood, who begun studying at Oxford but had to quit because the band signed a contract. York studied at the University of Exeter, O´Brien studied economics at the University of Manchester, Colin Greenwood studied English at Peterhouse, Selway got a degree in English and History at Liverpool John Moores University. Actually, education have been an important topic in this band lifes since they all met in their school, the all boys public school Abingdon.
Some videos for you to know them:
Lucky (live in Glastonbury 2003)
Jigsaw falling into place (live in Reading 2009)
Thom Yorke (vocals, guitar, piano)
Jonny Greenwood (guitar and pretty much any other instrument on earth)
Ed O'Brien (guitar, vocals)
Colin Greenwood (bass guitar)
Phil Selway (drums, backing vocals)
1993 - Pablo Honey
1995 - The Bends
1997 - OK Computer
2000 - Kid A
2001 - Amnesiac
2003 - Hail to the Thief
2007 - In Rainbows
2011 - The King of Limbs