How long is too long to wait for a new Radiohead song? The answer, as it turns out, isn’t 13 years.
Since 2003, Thom Yorke and co. have been teasing a track called “Burn the Witch.” The phrase first appeared in Stanley Donwood’s album art for that year’s Hail to the Thief, and the song has apparently been worked on and reworked as far back as the 1999 recording sessions for Kid A. Over the last decade, the title has popped up repeatedly in Radiohead blog posts, performances and lists of potential tracks.
Now, at long last, it’s finally arrived as the band’s first single in five years. And holy hell, was it ever worth the wait.
Set to a mildly disturbing stop-motion video inspired in equal parts by the cult horror flick The Wicker Man and the British children’s show Trumpton, “Burn the Witch” is an exercise in tense anticipation — something Radiohead fans certainly know something about.
“Stay in the shadows/cheer at the gallows,” Yorke croons over an anxious array of plucking strings and humming synths. “This is a low flying panic attack.”
Speculation abounds that Radiohead’s ninth studio album will arrive in short order. At this point, we’re just hoping it doesn’t take another 13 years.