REVIEW

 

RADIOHEAD
Lost Treasures 1993-1997 [Factory Discs, 2CD]

The manic aura of collectability that has grown up around Radiohead is not a recent phenomenon. Even before OK Computer established them as the de facto saviours of the entire Universe As We Know It, and set them off on a course of musical self-indulgence that makes even U2 seem humble, their discography echoed to the plaintive cries of fans and fanatics who’d just missed out on the last remaining copy of… the “Creep” 12-inch single, the “My Iron Lung” CD, the “Planet Telex” hexadecimal mix… And you couldn’t even turn to e-Bay in those days to find them, because it barely existed at the time. Oh happy days.

Enter Lost Treasures, which requires two discs, and no less than 35 songs, to round up the vast majority of the odds, sods and mysterious sidelights that pocked the band’s output between 1993 and 1997... which means that the first glimmerings of the post-Computer landslide are included via single-only remixes of “Climbing Up The Walls,” and b-sides “Palo Alto” and “Polyethylene.” But the bulk of the collection, and certainly its most interesting material, is drawn from the years surrounding their first two albums, the glorious “Pop Is Dead,” a live “Inside My Head,” an almost frighteningly plaintive acoustic reading of “Creep” (and, later in the set, “Street Spirit”) - so many rarities that your head will be spinning, even as your bank account thanks you for not insisting on hunting down the original pressings.

A few minor caveats. It’s not a complete collection; there are a handful of omissions, not least of all the band’s earliest, pre-Pablo Honey output. But still this is a magnificent collection, and one that should hopefully set the stage for an authorized delve into the band’s darkest corners, sometime in the future. - Dave Thompson

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August 29, 2008