There is a concept known as "hypnagogia." It is most succinctly defined as the transitional state of consciousness between being awake and being asleep. To be in a hypnagogic state is to essentially straddle the line between conscious and unconscious. When one wades into their first listens of A Moon Shaped Pool, they may feel as though they've entered this dreamy, somewhat surreal state of being as Radiohead's ninth studio album creates a powerful sensory experience across its 52-minute runtime. But make no mistake, the dreams conjured up by Radiohead on this record are not the type most would like to be having.

For starters, A Moon Shaped Pool is a certifiable headphones record. While one should obviously never limit themselves to just a headphone or stereo experience, this record is a dense collection of poignant, beautiful music. From the jittery first track, 'Burn The Witch,' all the way through to the haunting 'True Love Waits,' the record is absolutely jam-packed with sounds, many of which are never in your face and would escape proper attention without a decent set of headphones.

With 'Burn The Witch,' the album's lead single, not much time is afforded for the listener to feel comfortable. After an almost playful mix col legno and pizzicato string playing introduces the track, a grinding synthesizer enters the mix and the tension builds, working its way down from the ears into the chest. "Burn the witch," sings frontman Thom Yorke in a towering vocal performance, "We know where you live." Jonny Greenwood's direction of the London Contemporary Orchestra then brings the song to a close with a dizzying, disorienting and horrifying build that rather dramatically (or anti-climactically, depending on your view) dissipates into the ether.

And like that, the record pushes onward into 'Daydreaming,' a title keeping in line with the aforementioned feeling of hypnagogia. The ambient track creates a significantly different kind of disorientation and tension to that of its predecessor, as a wistful piano couples with Yorke's devastated vocals. "Beyond the point of no return / and it's too late, the damage is done," he sings. The outro to the song features reversed vocals that seem to be singing, "Half my life." Some have theorized this is a reference to Yorke's recent separation from his partner of 23 years.

With this thought in mind, it can be hard to read lines such as "Will all this love have been in vain?" from 'Present Tense' or "Broken hearts make it rain" from 'Identikit' has anything other than a commentary on Yorke's broken heart. That is, of course, until one considers that Radiohead has been playing many of the songs from A Moon Shaped Pool -- 'Present Tense' and 'Identikit' included -- for years. This is perhaps one of the album's most remarkable feats. It seems to have existed nebulously for a long time, as just a bunch of songs. But Radiohead allowed them all to gestate before pulling them down and formulating them properly. And here they are, formed together with effortless cohesion, on this brilliant work.

As a general rule of thumb, I do my best to leave myself out of these reviews, but I feel like I should mention that (at risk of being judged by many) I have never been much of a Radiohead fan. I've never felt particularly strongly about their records, with no lasting urge to listen and no overwhelming emotion generated by their compositions. A Moon Shaped Pool changed all of that. Yorke's vocals, Greenwood's stirring strings and the staggering contributions of Colin Greenwood, Ed O'Brien, Philip Selway and Nigel Godrich have all synthesized here to create a truly tense, evocative and amazing project. Very few records are able to transport the listener to a different world full of visceral, palpable feeling for even just one listen. A Moon Shaped Pool manages to do it over and over again with the feelings deepening rather than cheapening with each successive listen.