Atoms For Peace
Thom Yorke has never gone for the emotional jugular. Ever since Radiohead launched into the stratosphere with Ok Computer in 1997, his aim was for the cerebral, not emotional.
The debut from Atoms For Peace is like James Joyce in a world of Stephanie Meyer. Lose attention for a moment and the skittered rhythms and swooping bass lines will dissolve and shift into something else. Thom Yorke’s laptop science is brought to life and given legs and arms to flail.
Far from being Yorke’s solo debut under a different name, Amok is clearly the creation of a band. Loose and spontaneous, the melodies cartwheel around Flea’s driving grooves and the percussive power of Joey Waronker and Mauro Refosco. Chopped and flipped by keyboardist and producer Nigel Goodrich, the end result is a psychedelic mix of African rhythms and Blade Runner technology.
The ride isn’t always easy – the out of key spike notes in “Before Your Very Eyes” are fingers down a chalkboard and the intricate cross rhythms can be clawing instead of caressing your throat. Often it sounds as if everyone is on a separate tangent, like they recorded deaf and blind in different rooms. It’s not a ‘sum of its parts’ situation though: tracks such as “Judge, Jury and Executioner” flow around the central Flea bass line and “Reverse Running” has an unusual focus – on Yorke’s often hidden vocals.
Unlike Radiohead’s beat driven and coldly distant The King Of Limbs, Amok is warm- the sound of Thom Yorke starting to finally ease into the sound and enjoy the rave.
Amok is released February 25