LIANNE LA HAVAS DREAMS WITH THE FISHES ON "WEIRD FISHES"
London's Lianne La Havas Dives Deep On Her Cover Of Radiohead's "Weird Fishes".
Radiohead haven't been as much of a single's band in the new millennium. Yes, "Burn The Witch" got a decent amount of airplay and served to whet the appetite ahead of A Moon Shaped Pool. There are also a handful of standout tunes on Radiohead's twins of millennial tension and dread, Kid A and Amnesiac. This isn't even a condemnation, Radiohead have put out plenty of much-beloved music in the 21st Century. Albums like In Rainbows have entrenched themselves as firm fan favorites, while simultaneously illustrating new models of music distribution.
Now that the dust has settled and we've had a chance to consider Radiohead's music of the past 20 years in its own right, some of that music has shown itself to be pretty dang good, full of interesting rhythms, oblique lyrics, and rock and roll instrumentation pushed to the breaking point.
Some of Radiohead's post-millennial music has gone on to inspire a new generation of musicians, the way The Bends and OK Computer were for proto-hipster indie rockers. London's Lianne La Havas is one such musician.
“WEIRD FISHES” - LIANNE LA HAVAS
"Weird Fishes" has been a staple of La Havas' live sets since 2013. She finally decided to capture an official document of it as a single for her upcoming LP, due out July 17 on Nonesuch. Recording "Weird Fishes" ended up as a revelation for La Havas, who was so enamored of the funky-yet-fluid feeling of the single that it became a guiding principle for the rest of the LP.
Lianne La Havas manages to pull out everything that is wonderful about Radiohead's original, making us reassess not only In Rainbows, but Radiohead's music as a whole. Lianne La Havas takes the somewhat airy, head-in-the-clouds approach of the original - with Thom Yorke's vocals cresting like a curl of seafoam over a dense wall of skittering percussion - and brings it back into the stratosphere. Every element remains impressively intact, however, and it's every bit as conceptual.
The difference mainly comes from La Havas' vocals, which bring some much-appreciated warmth to the dark depths of "Weird Fishes." It transmutes the Krautrock electronica vibes of the original into a kind of artful Soul Jazz, like Solange jamming with Ginger Baker and Fela Kuti.
"Weird Fishes" is supposed to be indicative of what the rest of her new album is going to sound like. We Are: The Guard officially can't wait!
J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.