Thom Yorke's ethereal nightmare
The Radiohead frontman's 3rd studio album is more electronic and minimalist than ever....
After the surprise release of his 2014 album Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, Thom Yorke has released his third solo studio album (not counting the soundtrack of Luca Guadagnino’s 2018 film Suspiria) the more conventional way. Under XL Recordings, Anima brings us another dose of “electronic Radiohead”.
Thom Yorke first showed us that he could successfully dabble in electro music as early as 2006 with his first album The Eraser, and even ten years earlier with OK Computer and the band’s various remixes.
His vocals work tremendously well with technoid beats and he’s not afraid to alter them either, sometimes reducing them to a sample which can be cut, repeated and layered, like on the album’s opener Traffic. This album has plenty of spirit and a lot of heart. Produced by the trusty Nigel Godrich, it includes Last I Heard (…He Was Circling the Drain), a real masterpiece with its ethereal organ combined with drones, duplicated vocals and only a bass as the beat.
The drones return once more in Dawn Chorus, a track that you should definitely add to your winter playlist, featuring Yorke’s unmistakable vocals with practically zero filters. Also worth a listen is I Am a Very Rude Person, a funny little funk track with a broken beat and various layer changes throughout.
For this third solo album, Thom Yorke is clearly more confident in himself and his individuality. His music can be placed somewhere between Four Tet, James Holden, Burial or Caribou – all musicians/groups with whom he has worked, and his minimalist production style is a breath of fresh air in an industry that often piles on too many layers. Most importantly of all, this is clearly the work of a songwriter who pushes his own limits.
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