Radiohead’s debut album is very much formative – it’s lacking the idiosyncrasies of their later work, and sounds like a generic alt-rock album. The single, which received far more attention that the album itself, was ‘Creep’, which has proved somewhat of an albatross for the band as it’s still arguably their best known song even though it lacks the subtlety of their later work; it’s still admirable with Johnny Greenwood’s spasms of guitar noise.
The stop start dynamics of the opening ‘You’ (betraying a hint of Pixies influence) are effective, while the anthem of ‘Stop Whispering’ is also effective. The acoustic ‘Thinking About You’ is a simple, low key winner, while ‘I Can’t’ balances a hard guitar sound and introspective and pleasant vocals. The guitar freak-out of the closing ‘Blow Out’ is also one of Johnny Greenwood’s best moments on the disc. The punky ‘How Do You Do’ is too far out of character to be particularly enjoyable, while songs like ‘Lurgee’ and ‘Ripcord’ are generic and unremarkable.
Pablo Honey is an undistinguished debut; given Radiohead’s rich catalogue, it’s primarily an historical curiosity.