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Christopher O'Riley

Hail to the keys: Pianist Christopher O'Riley blows Radiohead's catalog dry and sets it ablaze.

Christopher O'Riley knows enough to care little: The classical pianist, joining the likes of Luka Bloom (ugh) and Brad Meldhau (hunh) as Those Who've Covered Radiohead But Are Not Rock And/Or Roll, dissects the back catalog (all the way back to Pablo Honey's "Thinking About You") till all that remains are melody and intent. These transcriptions, the result of O'Riley's "obsession" with the band after hearing OK Computer, sound at times like demos but without blanks remaining to be filled in; these are no novelties, no gimmicks à la Tori Amos turning "Smells Like Teen Spirit" into a precocious high school recital offering. O'Riley loves these songs because exposed to the elements they still feel warm to the touch -- because the band, despite its best/worst efforts, still writes astonishing songs it would prefer to bury than praise. They need no guitars, no static, no singer -- no words, in other words, just someone with a match and a can of gas to set them ablaze.


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