By Gil González Marín
Released February 22nd, 2013 - XL Recordings
Thom Yorke comes again with new material and, what a lot of us were expecting, a new band. Atoms For Peace is the name that the band would adopt after playing live the first solo material of Radiohead's frontman. Although before Amok came to the stores we already knew some of the tracks, as it is the case of Default, we can appreciate in this new record an approach somewhat different from what we were listening in The Eraser. On this record, the music is much brighter and up beat. Some of the tracks are more likely to be danced to, without too much of the already used melancholia and nostalgia that characterises Thom Yorke. Like the previous record, this record has been written almost in its entirety in a computer. It is in songs as in Before Your Very Eyes and Judge, Jury and Executioner where we manage to listen to real guitars, as well as in Reverse Running, where clearly one listens to an electrical guitar whispering as it has a dialogue with the ambience full of beats and effects.
Amok, written and recorded with longtime friend and producer Nigel Godrich, arrives to the shops as a continuation to a project without pretensions or expectations. With the characteristic sound in layers of beats, loops, effects, and voices in reverb, it would seem that Amok is the most appropriate way that Yorke has found to let out the sounds that are not suitable for Radiohead.
This record is quite good, nevertheless, it could also be said that this record leaves some of us waiting for a little bit more. Much of the sound of Amok can be heard in previous recordings and, even if we take into account the fact that this is a record written in a new phase of the project, most of the sound is already familiar to us. On the bright side, Amok is a record that speaks to us about a band, not just a solo project. In Amok we clearly listen to the work of more than one man, not only Yorke's. Let's not forget that one of the highlights of this new band are the live shows. It will be quite interesting to observe how Atoms for Peace plays these new tracks before an audience. Of course these songs will transform themselves in every presentation, which I find very exciting. So, my final words: I think it's necessary to listen more than once to this record and, although I don't think that it will overcome the success of The Eraser, this will be an album that Yorke's followers will enjoy for a long time. No pretension, no expectations, just plain fun beats and loops with good mates playing along. Peace.