The Manchester five-piece's modest catalog already boasts a number of impressive mini-dramas, fashioned -- like Nirvana's songs -- to catapult the listener abruptly between opposing emotions, using dynamics to their full effect.
At the sold-out Wiltern, opener "My Iron Lung" was a stunning entrance from a road-hardened band whose members have jelled as a live group. Song's indictment of societal apathy is driven home by a roller-coaster musical bed that cushions a blinding and powerful chorus with haunting George Harrison-inspired guitar weepings.
Thom Yorke's voice -- delicate and razor-sharp -- and his scruffy demeanor are at the center of the band's storm. His softer side gives the perfectly titled "Nice Dream" a haunting quality, while an arrogant edge boosts '93 hit "Creep." Guitarist Ed O'Brien scored extra credit for his solid backup vocals.
Elsewhere, the hopeful frailty of current single "High & Dry" (Capitol), the punk-fueled humility of "Anyone Can Play Guitar" and the hesitant optimism of "Lift," one of a handful of new songs, provided ample proof that Radiohead are the cream of the current British crop.