Atoms for Peace – AmokCultureMusicAlbum reviews
Musical messiah and prolific figurehead of an alternative generation, Thom Yorke has once again graced the airwaves with his latest project, Atoms for Peace. Stepping away from his primary interest – Radiohead, for which he is famed – Yorke has assembled a supergroup consisting of Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Nigel Godrich (Radiohead producer), Joey Waronker (Beck, R.E.M) and Brazilian instrumentalist Mauro Refosco.
In 2009, Atoms for Peace assembled in order for Yorke to tour his solo debut album, The Eraser. The talented ensemble stuck together after enjoying the energy shared, and consequently created Amok, their first studio LP. The album follows Yorke on his quest for electronic experimentation, which has been evident ever since Radiohead’s Ok Computer. However, in this album you feel he is stepping back, away from his self-analytical approach. In recent material his lyrics have been less introspective and more abstract – using repeated phrasing and aphorisms. The intensity comes from within the dense instrumentation, which seems to quarrel for position in these tracks.
This is a progressive record which makes no attempt to appeal to the mainstream. However, Default is a solid example of the fact that those lines can be blurred with the right synth sounds. Before Your Very Eyes and Judge, Jury and Executioner attach themselves to Yorke’s familiar style of past projects, while title track, Amok, is a spooky expedition through reverb, accompanied by a two-step dance groove, timely piano and an incredibly funky Flea bassline. Other tracks like Reverse Running and Dropped really show off the band’s technical prowess as they mesh electronics and instruments over counter melodies and time signatures.
Amok seems to be made purely from the enjoyment of interweaving electronics over break beats and prominent bass lines. Yorke’s most recent approach to song writing allows his airy vocals to teeter on the edge without disrupting the musicianship. By his own very high standards, the lyrics are not ground-breaking, but they complement the construction of the compositions by not muddying the waters, furthering a sense of relaxation. Overall, Atoms for Peace have aimed to push the musical frontier with multi-textured and multi-layered electronica, shadowed by dream-like vocals. Amok is a joy to experience.
Amok was released on 25th February 2013, for further information visit here.
Watch the video for Judge, Jury and Executioner here: