Last week, Radiohead debuted their third video from A Moon Shaped Pool, this time for the song “Present Tense.” A sparse production, it features members Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood accompanied by a Roland CR-78, with Paul Thomas Anderson behind the camera as director. Yorke and crew previously worked with Anderson on “Daydreaming,” AMSP’s second video, which premiered back in August.
But “Present Tense” is barely a music video. And Anderson’s presence is barely felt, with only hints of his creative hand appearing as the camera cuts between close ups of Yorke’s face and wider shots of Greenwood and Yorke performing together. Otherwise, the video serves more as a live performance. It’s dimly lit and intimate, as if you were watching it at the Blind Pig, rather than on YouTube. And if I’m being honest, this is the first Radiohead music video I’ve ever seen. I’d never really felt the need to give their music any visual representation; it’s already so hauntingly satisfying when it stands alone. But I have seen the band live, and this video feels a lot like that — except, lucky for you, it’s not as crowded.