Christopher O'Riley plays Radiohead True Love Waits Review

Released 2003.  

BBC Review

O'Riley has taken one of the most successful contemporary bands of the moment, and...

Lucy Davies 2003

O'Riley has taken one of the most successful contemporary bands of the moment, and recreated the most popular of their back catalogue on the piano.

He's obviously a massive fan of Radiohead, having spent a long amount of time transcribing their more popular songs, and whilst some of them are elegant mini-versions of the originals others come with problems of their own.

O'Riley's version of Everything in its right place adds colour through its dischords, but although he adds warmth to Knives Out it's rather too Debussy-esque, and the mechanical nature is lost as the metre is pulled about.

Thinking about you is an old favourite from the 1993 album Pablo Honey that many will have forgotten all about. At this point O'Riley could have instilled some calm into the proceedings but instead at best, with Schubertian runs in the left hand, it's a jaunty upbeat song. Why the rubato and sustain pedalling? Perhaps this is a case of O'Riley the performer misinterpreting his own arrangement.

Fake Plastic Trees is beautiful. The stillness, the harmonies and the tensions build with majestic layering, plus, thankfully, no semiquavers to be seen.

The original of Karma Police uses piano so this track sounds just perfect, with a few embellishments and the odd extra 7th thrown in. But then, like Black Star and Let Down the main tune gets lost; lots of quick broken chords darting up and down the keyboard makes the texture too busy and there is nowhere else to go.

I imagine that these arrangements would be most cathartic to play in the privacy of your own home. Some of them are spot on, but the piano is a versatile instrument and O'Riley simply isn't making the most of it. Somewhere along the line he seems to have lost the more sparse and shiny elements of Radiohead.

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