After releasing their critically acclaimed ninth studio album A Moon Shaped Pool and subsequent world tour, Radiohead has shared a new video directed by acclaimed filmsmith Paul Thomas Anderson. Well, it’s billed as Radiohead, but as the song title suggests it’s not quite the whole band. “Present Tense: Jonny, Thom & a CR78” (a CR78 is an old school drum machine) shows Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood in what appears to be a campfire setting although there doesn’t seem to be a fire. But the nighttime noises and soft, orange lighting really sell it. Kudos to Anderson.
The song itself is great too, with Yorke and Greenwood weaving dreamy fingerpicked electric guitars over the subtle CR78 beat. Of course Thom gets a little dance in before they start to play, al la “Lotus Flower.” Although the tunes on A Moon Shaped Pool weren’t too heavy, it’s refreshing to hear something a bit more stripped down. Perhaps they wrote it in a campfire setting, perhaps it was when they were winding down after tour, and wanted to capture the fleeting moment. At one point Yorke sings “self defense…against the present tense.” It’s always good to read between the lines, but especially with Radiohead. You can check out the video embedded below.