Out of the Silent Planet

Guitar World|August 2020

Out of the Silent Planet
HOW RADIOHEAD GUITARIST ED O’BRIEN GATHERED THE COURAGE TO STEP OUT ON HIS OWN — VOCALS AND ALL — ON HIS AMBIENT AND ACCESSIBLE DEBUT, EARTH
Ryan Reed

ED O’BRIEN’S SIGNATURE Radiohead moment isn’t one of his sustained textural guitar leads or ghostly drones. It’s a fervent, two-note backing vocal that highlights the mid-section of “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi,” the dynamic centerpiece of the art-rock band’s seventh LP, 2007’s In Rainbows. It’s a moment so emotionally pure, it’s inspired a wave of fangeek memes (hinged on the joke that O’Brien is singing his own first name), and it’s among the guitarist’s favorite moments in their live show.

“It was only really during the last bit of Radiohead touring in 2018 that I was suddenly aware — every time I’d stand up to the mic, it was like the whole room was singing along with me,” he tells us, noting that he recorded the studio take while battling the flu. “I’ve always put so much into it — it’s like a cry for help, a yearning.”

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August 2020