Radiohead’s Thom Yorke Releases Unique Side Project
Published: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 23:02
Radiohead fans rejoice, for Thom Yorke has done the music world a favor and released another record, this time with the American-formed Atoms for Peace. The new album follows the ever-experimental trend that Yorke has set for himself, taking the listener on a journey fueled by droning electro tones and the classic falsetto that so many know and love. What sets this record apart from other Yorke projects, including recent Radiohead albums, is its sheer funkiness. Amok has a nine-song track list that seems to get groovier by the tune.
Each song has its own unique element with a drumbeat that the listener cannot help but rock their head and tap their feet to. What is so great about this album is that it is full of surprises, not only musically but personnel-wise, as well. With the easily recognizable Yorke taking the vocal position, the band also includes longtime Radiohead collaborator Nigel Godrich—but there’s even more. Red Hot Chili Pepper fans will be pleased that Flea has picked up his bass and put it to great use in this new musical melting pot.
It is pretty safe to say that one never knows what to expect when listening to a piece of Thom Yorke’s music. Amok is certainly no exception—with strange rhythmic electro-keyboards and oddly fast-paced drumbeats, the listener is constantly bombarded with new sounds and experiences. Yorke does a fair bit of vocal experimentation as well, using the studio to its full potential. He creates double or triple tracks of his voice at the same time, recording chants that sound like they are coming from a Native American tribe during a great musical celebration while he sings with his high pitched yet subtle drone. It is truly amazing that this music works together in the first place, but how it works so well is almost unbelievable.
If you are looking for an album where every track has its own groove, then this is absolutely the album to listen to. Every single song has a clear groove that could only come from a jam band that is in sync with one another. After the grooves are laid down the real Yorke and Godrich experimentation begins. By putting trance-inducing drones over dance inducing beats, the musicians and producers have truly made a work of strange modern art.
There is no doubt that this album is as unique as they come, but this uniqueness also raises eyebrows. Each and every song has an unfathomable depth, like looking into the deepest part of the ocean—you know there must be a limit somewhere, an edge or floor where the vastness stops, but you cannot see it. In this musical science experiment-gone-right there is no perceivable end to the depth of the music—every song is a layer upon a layer upon a layer. In spite of all of the complexities, however, Yorke emanates a laid back vibe through his wild but subdued vocalizations. While this album takes on the common Radiohead experimental feel, it has a new factor adding to its intrigue: it is actually fun.
Though very good, this album is definitely not perfect. Its biggest and most glaring problem is that it is absolutely not for everyone. This is not the kind of record you are going to play at a party and expect the whole crowd to start jumping up and down with enthusiasm. While it may not be the dark, depressed Yorke from Radiohead, this album does not attract those who are closed-minded. There are points during the album where one needs to remember that this is what makes Yorke, Godrich, and company musical geniuses and move on. Any Radiohead fan or person who is looking to expand their musical horizons should give it a try.