Atoms For Peace - AMOK

Lately, I’ve been thinking about Thom Yorke as a musical version of Steven Soderbergh: An insanely gifted popular entertainer who’s come to think of himself as a trickster auteur type, someone who will concoct dizzily difficult artistic scenarios for himself and then solve his own puzzles with breathtaking ease. The thing about Soderbergh is that even when he’s not in Erin Brockovitch/Ocean’s Eleven blockbuster-entertainment mode, even when he’s pretending to be difficult, is that his movies tend to have gratifying, easily understood emotional arcs. He can fill his movies with nonprofessional actors or bizarre filmmaking flourishes, but you still feel like you’re in the hands of a master entertainer, not a challenging visionary. Yorke has his own blockbuster-entertainer mode, too; when they feel like being that, Radiohead are still probably the best arena rock band currently working. But even when he’s linking with Burial or Flying Lotus, Yorke’s voice has an ineffable float to it, something recognizable to anyone who’s ever enjoyed “Paranoid Android” or “Optimistic” or maybe even “Creep.” On AMOK, the debut full-length from his newish band Atoms For Peace, Yorke devises all sorts of traps for that voice: Endlessly twitchy rhythmic beds, hall-of-mirrors synth-blips, time-signatures too convoluted for a roomful of metronomes to chart. At times, he sounds like he’s singing for a warm, low-tech version of Autechre. But that voice always hovers over everything, triumphantly soothing, offering an uncomplicated form of beauty that ultimately overshadows everything else.

If I wanted to stretch things a bit too far, I’d say that Flea, maintaining bass duties in Atoms For Peace, is Yorke’s equivalent to Channing Tatum: A known-to-the-masses boldface name, frequently seen in his underwear and widely believed to be stupid, who turns out to be capable of great work when he’s paired up with the right auteur. But that parallel doesn’t really work — not because it leaves you wondering whether Blood Sugar Sex Magik is the first Step Up movie but because Flea, at least here, is a relatively anonymous presence. Atoms For Peace is a staggering, fascinating collection of musicians: Flea, Radiohead buddy Nigel Godrich, star alt-rock session drummer Joey Waronker, unknown-quantity percussionist Mauro Refosco. In the end, though, they don’t sound like a band. Yorke recruited all of them in the first place so that they could stand onstage behind him and play the intricately layered, inward-looking backing tracks that made up his solo album The Eraser. And on AMOK, to the extent that they sound like flesh-and-blood musicians at all, they sound like people who would be really good at playing The Eraser. In the rare moment when you can pick the individual moments out — the supple and subtle rubberband-bass tones on “Stuck Together Pieces,” for example — they sound fantastic. But they also sound like loops, like the precisely-calibrated work of a machine too sophisticated to exist for another couple of years yet.

AMOK, then, is very much Yorke’s project. And like The Eraser before it, it seems soft and minor, almost by design. Yorke sings everything in a mutter or a coo or a mutter-coo, and you need a lyric sheet to decipher words that, it turns out, are all diffuse meditations on disconnection anyway. The music is content to ripple and sputter deep in the background, to add strange new shades to your day rather than to recolor it completely. And the whole thing sounds immeasurably better on decent headphones than on speakers, exactly as you’d imagine. York piles on layers of his own voice until he sounds like an impossibly sad swarm of bees, or he buries himself in blankets of synth-drum-bass until he’s practically a ghost of himself. Even on The King Of Limbs, Radiohead would occasionally offer up something resembling a tangible, conventional rock guitar riff; Yorke never turns out anything like that here. Rather than songs, he mostly gives us tones and textures and densely knotty grooves.

And yet AMOK doesn’t sound the slightest bit difficult or impenetrable. It’s a mellow, inviting sigh of a listen. Those rhythms are all unfailingly tricky and cerebral, but there’s a comfort in them too, especially since the individual sounds that the band layers up are so sharp and clear and wonderfully recorded. It’s all mastered so that you can pick out every ripple of drum or synth on headphones, so that each new element the band piles on has enough room to make its presence felt. Nearly every sound on the record is soft and pillowy, none more so than Yorke’s voice. Over and over, that voice seems to wander into transcendent flights of melody, as if by accident. If Yorke wanted, he could probably still write straight-up rock songs that would knock the collective lot of us dead. Instead, he’s given us this itchy and introverted but compulsively listenable bit of beat-warping. I’ll take it.

AMOK is out 2/26 on XL.

Comments (103)
  1. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  2. Downvote this if you don’t like it.

  3. Looks like I need to listen to this on headphones.

  4. The whole bit about Flea, he pretty much nailed it. Doesn’t sound like a band album. Just more of the same Thom Yorke. It’s not awful. Just forgettable.

  5. “Compulsively listenable” is the best way I’ve heard to describe this so far – it’s great, but pretty laid back about it (and, I think purposefully homogeneous). AMOK is one of my favorite songs of the last few years.

  6. Flea is definitely the Channing Tatum of rock. Only Flea is a better actor. (Back to the Future anyone?)

    I’m digging AMOK thus far. But, as with most/all of the good things Thom is associated with, it will take time and repeated listened to fully soak in.

  7. yeah, that pretty much nails it

  8. I’ve only listened to this once, but wow I think it’s fantastic. Definitely agree with The Eraser reference.

  9. Not sure if I can get on board with Thom Yorke being a musical version of Steven Soderbergh.
    Don’t think Soderbergh has made, or ever will make, anything that has affected film in the way that some of Radiohead’s albums have affected music.

    • Yorke would have to put out like seven albums in the next three years to earn the Soderbergh comparison.

      Also, he could promise to retire by age fifty. One of those two things.

    • I don’t know about that. ‘sex, lies and videotape’ was very much the template for 90s American indie film. ‘Traffic’ might be the platonic ideal of a wide scope omnibus ‘issue’ movie; ‘Erin Brockovich’ is one of the great ‘based on a true story’ procedurals . ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ could be the most enjoyable heist movie ever made that is actually about the heist itself. And ‘Solaris’ has to be the most far-out studio picture made since Stanley Kubrick died. Interestingly, all of those (other than s,l & v) more or less coincide with Radiohead’s 1997-2001 heyday.

  10. On first listen, Ingenue is my fav. Love them sneaky synths.

  11. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • I suppose it depends what you consider “good” songwriting. I think Thom still writes incredibly interesting and relevant music. Stuff like this and The Eraser are obviously less melodic or verse-chorus driven than usual Radiohead. But like Tom mentioned in the article, it’s not that Yorke can’t, it’s that he simply doesn’t write those kind of songs. While I’ll always enjoy a melodic opus like Weird Fishes more, I don’t fault him for these experiments, nor do I think its a sign of inability to write such songs.

      And I’ll have to strongly disagree with the claim that King of Limbs doesn’t have good songwriting. It follows the AMOK/The Eraser formula a bit more, where groove and texture outweigh melody and typical song structure, but songs like Give Up The Ghost? Codex? Lotus Flower? Those are among Radiohead’s greatest achievements in my opinion.

  12. Nice write up. Yorke and Soderbergh is an interesting comparison that works well.

  13. This album is really nice with hi-definition headphones. Apple’s earbuds just don’t cut it for this one.

  14. In my humble opinion, I weary of Thom Yorke’s continual reliance on electronics, cut up loops, electronic tid bits run amuck. I miss the simplicity and beauty of his heart aching songwriting from the past…where the songs were defined and designed that they could be performed with a full on band or on a guitar. Sure the sonic textures are interesting, polished, well groomed and well crafted in the studio, but my contention is that it has become an almost obsessive creative backdrop for him. And that stretches to the latest in the Radiohead canon with King of Limbs. I never cared for The Eraser. I never cared for Hail to the Thief or even much of Amnesiac. I feel that this record is kind of an extension of those albums. So sonically over-driven and cluttered with electronic proceedings, that melodic breathing room and beauty get lost in a cyber shuffle. But, I can still love the fusion of sonics with MELODY. Something that truly stirs the soul beyond the feeling of an aural/musical equivalent of thx-1138. Youtube any solo Yorke performance on acoustic guitar and some of you may get what I feel he’s missing currently. I don’t mean to bash this record; it is still an artform and well sculpted sonically….but it feels in a way contrived, devoid of real feeling. Kid A was the sound of the Ghost in the haunted machine and regardless of how obtuse it could seem, it had a pulse. This record ( and in part, The King of Limbs) sounds like the machine in the ghost. It just doesn’t do anything for me. I can appreciate the witty, ear candy that is the production, but beyond that, naught. Still a fan of artists own tastes and how they choose to reflect that with the progression of their art, but…..

    • I disagree with you on a purely ‘taste’ level – I really enjoyed The Eraser, KoL, and AMOK – but tastes are tastes. Beyond that, I think that Yorke is feeling his way through these new sounds and the technologies that offer them (and are always changing) to find the best way to express the great melodies he’s always been able to conjur in the best and most expressive way. ie: he’s searching for warmth inside of these inherently cold pathways. It’s arguable whether or not he’s been succeeding (I would argue that he has been, it seems like you would argue the opposite), but songs like “Bloom,” “The Seperator,” “Before Your Very Eyes,” and “Amok” I think are clear indicators that there’s plenty of ‘heart&soul’ melodies to be mined, and that he’s at least on the right track. Again though, I love it all (except for maybe Feral).

      • And thats why Mr. Michael J Fox avatar its always good to hear a fair and balanced fellow Radiohead fan’s side and alternate perspective. That’s how I began to really get into Kid A after an alienating first listen. :) Can’t say AMOK will do the very same for me, but I do my best to really be open minded. I shall try again with this album, albeit with better headphones as the gummys above have suggested ;)

      • Aw really?? I love Feral! In fact, I was going to say Feral is the closest track on KoL to what is going on in AMOK.

        Anyway, I agree with your response. I see where Luke is coming from, but I think it is a taste thing. Makes sense that people wouldn’t enjoy these detours, especially if they don’t appreciate albums like Amnesiac and HTTT. Thom is experimenting with a genre and style that wouldn’t fit on a Radiohead record (some would argue KoL is that style, and while it has those elements, it is very much a full band effort…especially after having seen them live on that tour). Some don’t appreciate that sound, and that’s fine. I happen to love this type of music and think Thom pulls it off exceptionally well. If I wanted a melodic epic I wouldn’t go for AMOK or The Eraser, but then again that’s not why I listen this type of music anyway. It makes sense when you think of the type of DJ artists Thom is really into, particularly Flying Lotus and the like. It’s just a different thing he’s trying out. I don’t expect it to sound like Radiohead, and I’m not let down that it doesn’t.

        • To me Bloom is the closest KoL track to AMOK in both sound and general tone. I found Feral to be a bit cold, but to be honest I never really gave it a fair shake.

          I do agree that the whole “new Yorke vs. old Yorke” debate comes down purely and simply to taste – Yorke (and Radiohead, by extension) have chosen to explore minimalism, inorganic sounds and nuance, I assume, as a contrast to the bombast and raw organic nature of their earlier years. Those who prefer bombast and organic instruments will inevitably prefer the earlier stuff. I tend to be pretty back and forth in terms of preferring organic vs. electronic sounds, so this may just be hitting me at the right moment, or I trust Yorke and co. so much that I’m willing to dive in no matter what. AMOK certainly sounds closest to Flying Lotus – especially his collab with Thom “and the world laughs with you.”

          • Yeah, I see Bloom in there too. When I saw them live, I bought a shirt that said “Feral” on it, haha. Love that one.

            Haha “new Yorke.” So obviously awesome. And I totally agree. I love both sides so much it just depends on my mood, really. He/they pull off both so well. And Ialso think they mix the two seamlessly on occasion. There’s a Yorke for every sensation. (<- half-assed attempt to tie in York peppermint patties.)

  15. I just can’t feel the love for AMOK :(

  16. I think we all want Radiohead to be the smart arena rock band again from the Bends to Amnesiac era.

    • not me. i want them to keep doing what they want to do. why? cuz im not a musical genius like they are.

      • You BOTH have valid points. Thats what makes this so hard :)

        • Yes anonymous downvoter, they do both have valid points. True fans enjoy what they accomplished in the past that is the highest watermark for the full expression of their genius and others are caught in the great divide between wanting the artist to fully express themselves progressively regardless if it alienates fans from feeling that they are turning about face from their past glories. Yes I write in paragraphs.

      • I love them doing what they do too, but I’ve just been underwhelmed by their post-In Rainbows output.

    • Did you by chance see them on the King of Limbs tour? Because that was about as epically arena ready as I’ve ever seen a band. They haven’t lost a step since the Bends, in my opinion. Different sounds and approaches sure, but every bit as epic.

      • king of limbs live is a religious experience. that tour, in my experience, was head and shoulders above the HTTT and In Rainbows tour. seeing the KOL songs played live gave me an even greater appreciation of the songs. it was the 3rd time Radiohead took body of work that shouldn’t work as well live as it does and making it sound even better than the record.

    • I’d honestly want another In Rainbows.

      Felt like it found the perfect balance between Thom’s more electronic sounding ideas and the full band sound of Radiohead.

  17. This album sounds exactly like what it is: It’s Thom Yorke doing his electronic thing, which isn’t particularly interesting or breaking any new ground, and it’s also a band that stated they recorded this entire thing as essentially one big jam session that they cut and pasted into “songs.” There isn’t much cohesion here, there isn’t really any type of real vision or structure. It’s a bunch of mildly interesting grooves, hooks, and bleep blorps pieced together, and you can tell. It’s fine, but as someone else said, it is mostly forgettable.

    It’s also somewhat of a shame to have such a talented group of musicians essentially try their hardest to sound like they aren’t playing actual instruments.

  18. Seanjean, as much as I adore Thom Yorke’s gifts and that goes for the whole of the band, I totally agree with you. I know Radiohead are a type of sacred cow and that any offspring of Yorke’s can be a hit or miss affair, I just hope listeners realize that sonic fantasia doesn’t always equal great art. You can have Godrich behind the boards or Brian Eno but if the songwriting is just not there ( on this record it isn’t IMHO), then you can’t hide behind sonic/electronic gimmicks to compensate for lack of inspired songwriting. A lot of people on this board talk about how great it sounds on hi-def headphones and that’s exactly my point. Its a FUN listen; alot of cool studio trickery and the whole bit. But on a song to song basis, I just feel its a big empty shiny void. And I had high hopes for this album. Especially considering the high caliber of talent involved. On a side note, Radiohead may never be 93-’97 Era Radiohead again. But I found The King of Limbs to be so entrenched in the mode of almost anti-songwriting that its a great sounding but completely tuneless record. I wish Thom Yorke would listen to The Beatles again. He is SO talented when he gets it right. Melody is so vital to a song unless you find a way to do something that hasn’t been done before and not make it sound insipid or boring. It’s like I’ve already heard ‘Amok” before in various incarnations of Yorke’s other collaborations and or latest material with Radiohead and I just can’t stand it. Long time Radiohead/Thom Yorke fan rant over.

    • The problem with this point of view is, Thom Yorke ISN’T listening to the Beatles. He’s listening to Flying Lotus and other similar DJ’s and electronic artists. It’s simply his attempt at a similar aesthetic. Flying Lotus doesn’t write melodic epics either, his tracks are for the appreciation of groove and texture. Sometimes the point of music is not to have this gorgeous melody to guide you into enjoyment., but to explore the boundaries of sound itself. It’s understandable some don’t like that type of music, and you obviously don’t appreciate it, or at least Thom’s approach to it. But I kind of find it unfair to expect anything Thom is associated with to sound like Radiohead (or at least older Radiohead). An artists intentions definitely have to be taken into account. It’s not that he has failed to write a great melody, he simply has no interest in that here.
      Again, I understand where you are coming from, I don’t want to be confrontational. It makes sense to me when people don’t enjoy this. But I think it comes down to taste. If you disliked Amnesiac and Hail to the Thief, then of course you don’t like stuff like this. I just think it’s unfair to somehow blame it on Thom, as if he’s failed to entertain you. I think it’s safe to say you are not his audience with something like this.

      • I agree with this viewpoint in that I realize this likely isn’t for me and I also understand my reasons for not liking it probably aren’t the goals of the project to begin with. That being said, I freaking love Amnesiac and Hail to the Thief, and this album has very little in common with either of them, both in terms of quality or style.

        • I agree. I don’t think those albums sound anything like this, but I can see why one who is turned off to those albums would also not like AMOK, especially if their reasoning for not liking them was because of the abrasive electronica.
          But I also freaking love them.

      • KidChair, you make good points. I like Aphex Twin and I know thats different then this stuff, but thats not exactly melodic. I think its the style as well that I don’t like via this record or his recent output ( Yorkes, not AT).

      • Thom can obviously make whatever kind of music he wants, but I would argue that this style just isn’t really his strong suit. Not a matter of taste, at least for me, since I love Flying Lotus, Teebs, Burial, Aphex Twin, and other “textural” beatmakers, but I just can’t get into this. It doesn’t have the sense of space and wonder that FlyLo and Teebs have, it doesn’t have the pathos and atmosphere of Burial, or the spastic, aggressive menace of Aphex Twin. It just sounds like a bunch of clattering and burbling.

        To be fair, I haven’t given the full thing a listen on quality headphones. So my opinion could change.

        • Yeah, I can respect that. I would usually take FlyLo and Aphex Twin over this too. But I do suggest a headphones listen. After a few listens this thing has really grown on me.

          I mentioned this below, but I wonder how people would respond if Thom omitted the vocals altogether? All of these artists we’re comparing it to are mostly instrumental. It makes me wonder if that juxtaposition of vocals and glitch electronica turn some people off. Any insight, as someone who doesn’t really care for it? Would you appreciate this more as an instrumental album?

        • Or if not this album specifically…would you guys appreciate Thom’s approach to an instrumental album?

        • Absolutely agree. It’s cool that Thom’s inspired by Burial & Four Tet, but i feel like AMOK is a weak, surface level attempt at that music style

          • I listen to and love a lot of electronic music, including Flying Lotus and especially Aphex Twin, but I do not understand the esteem that Burial is held in. To me it sounds like I am listening to late-1980s top 40 dance music from the bottom of a swimming pool (either I am at the bottom of said pool doing the listening or Expose or Stacy Q or whomever it is is at the bottom of the pool singing and I am standing at the foot of the deep end politely listening; either way I don’t hear what all the fuss is about).

  19. P.S. Codex and Give up the Ghost are phenomenal melodic tracks off of The King of Limbs. Lest I get downvoted for my ignorance ;)

  20. I would say Codex and Give up the Ghost are the best of the lot on that record. I just can’t appreciate King Of Limbs. Its the only Radiohead album I never bothered to buy :( Love this band so much but was just bored by KOL.

  21. This record is a dud, sorry. I’m calling the emperor’s new clothes on this one. The Eraser was excellent and had memorable melodies to it. This is self-indulgent nonsense.

    Everybody knows you never go full Aphex Twin. You went full Aphex Twin, Thom. Never go full Aphex Twin.

  22. Thom Yorke likes to keep busy. Atoms for Peace, initially a collective with the intention of performing Yorke’s debut solo album The Eraser live, have delivered its debut album Amok on the masses. The first thing you may wonder (as I did) was “how is this any different than Radiohead?” or any of Yorke’s solo work, for that matter. The subtle gloom and cryptic doom is intact yet the textures are, for lack of a better word, different.

    First single “Default” is held together with the tinny electronic pitter patter of drums which collides in a wash of digital waves during the chorus in which Yorke laments “The will is strong but the flesh is weak”. That line could be perceived as a statement that this album is making. Some critics would say Yorke’s weighty subject matter doesn’t stand up on its own without a rock band behind him but Amok proves otherwise. Much like the last proper Radiohead single “Lotus Flower”, Yorke is front and center while the polyrhythms and electronics neatly flail around him. This observation could also be seen as a downside of the album. Everything is too much in its right place. Enlisting seminal funk punk bassist Flea into the mix was a surprisingly interesting move but his signature slaps and pops are missing, which gives way to the idea that Amok is a collaboration in theory only. The pace livens a bit by the middle of the record as “Dropped” lays down some jaunty bass runs but its a missed opportunity for Yorke to break from the parameters of the electronic purgatory Amok is entrenched in.

    As a standalone album, Amok serves as a somewhat unsatisfactory pacifier until the next Radiohead album and/or one-off Yorke collaboration. I would punch a small child in the face repeatedly for a full Flying Lotus/Burial colab album but Amok may ultimately fair better as a template for a remix album not unlike TKOL RMX 1234567. For most, Amok’s dense production and punchy percussion will serve well for late night trysts and disorientating Gobi tents in equal measure.

  23. I haven’t listened enough times to form a solid opinion, (could take weeks) but I am commenting because I want to belong.

    • I don’t know how I feel about it as a work of art or as part of the “Radiohead Canon”, but it does sound FUCKING AMAZING on my fancy shmancy headphones. A lot of great grooves. Cool noises all happening at the same time and timed in such a way as to be appealing.

  24. Ok I know I do this a lot where I end up talking about some tangent instead of the actual music in question, but I have a bone to pick with the comment section. Why is “menacing” the go to adjective for Aphex Twin? I know, he threatened to eat my soul, but then on the same EP he put out Flim and IZ-US, which are both pieces of sublimely laid back IDM. Also, his best album IMO is Selected Ambient Works 85-92, which is just gorgeous from start to finish. The moment when the bass comes in Xtal still floors me every time. The Richard D. James album, which seems to be the consensus “best” album is more pretty(Fingerbib) and even goofy(Goon Gumpas) than scary. I would say his music is split about 50-50 between creepily menacing and jaw droppingly beautiful. We need a new adjective. I’m going with creeporgeous.

  25. I like this fine. It fits right in between ‘The Eraser’ and TKOL. However, I can’t help but be a little put off by how Yorke’s solo stuff has become indistinguishable from Radiohead proper. Those other guys are certainly top-flight musicians, particularly those Greenwood bros. Has Thom become the very kind of tyrant that he has valiantly been railing against for the past 20 years?

    • i’m bewildered by this complaint – “I can’t help but be a little put off by how Yorke’s solo stuff has become indistinguishable from Radiohead proper”. it’s cropping up all over these comments. Radiohead is a seperate band. atoms for peace, thom york – the eraser, both are not Radiohead. so there’s no need to be put off. solo projects, side bands, are meant to be outlets for not “main band” music.

    • I think if you listen to Jonny’s solo work or even Ed’s old soundtrack work you’ll see that that lush, orchestrated/jazzy sonic element and those ethereal synth-guitar noises respectively that are notably absent from The Eraser and Amok are their doing rather than Thom’s. Ed has referenced in interviews that there actually is a slightly “rockist” member of Radiohead, but it’s not him, and it’s presumably not Thom or Jonny. I don’t remember Ed’s exact words, but it was something wonderful along the lines of “no, I’m a bit of a pothead so… I like the weird music.”

    • I’m not sure I fully understand what you are getting at with this…but I actually think the few side projects by the respective members shed light on what everyone brings to the table individually as Radiohead. I think its rather obvious by listening to Thom’s stuff, specifically, that Johnny and company actually contribute enormously to Radiohead’s material.

  26. i’m as big a radiohead fan as anyone… but i’m ready for thom and the guys to go off the deep end. they have been muddling around in the details for a while, and i want a radiohead album consisting of blues standards and beatles covers.

  27. What’s this about all sounds and no melodies? Reverse Running (which could totally just be a Radiohead song) and Ingenue had me up out of my chair dancing and singing along the first time I heard them. I was singing the through-line of Unless at a man in the street five minutes after I got out of my car yesterday. I’m not joking when I say I’ve had the choruses of Default and What the Eyeballs Did stuck in my head for months. Like Lotus Flower, shit is straight-up pop, y’all mad. I love TKOL more than most (word to the wise: pepper the b-sides and non-album tracks from the period throughout, it really shines in the context of Twisted Words, Hearing Damage, Feeling Pulled Apart, Staircase, Butcher) but Amok’s songs are surely more immediate.

    I just really never want Yorke & co. to repudiate Kid A by going less experimental. Luckily, they don’t seem to be in any danger of doing so. I wouldn’t mind a little wider-screen (I’d love a Radiohead album where the string and horn at the levels of Bloom and The National Anthem ran all the way through, though In Rainbows almost has that with strings), and deployed properly (a-la The Butcher), heavily-effected guitar is still Radiohead’s best secret weapon, but I’d be really disappointed if Yorke and any collaborators issued a largely guitar album at this point unless it was explicitly Twisted Words-style krautrock, or skeletal I Might Be Wrong/Reverse Running-style pieces, or exploring their slow-burn Talk Talk roots or something equally forward-thinking to his electronic stuff.

  28. you had me until the flea channing tatum reference. one of the most innovative, creative and technically superior bass players of our time (if not ever), compared to one of the most one dimensional, boring actors ever? wether or not you like the current chili peppers offerings, it’s just strange to meto denigrate someone who is truthfully the best at what they do.

  29. I found thid record incredibly dull and overproduced. As many others have said before me, Thoms reliance on electronics really gets in the way of pure songwriting or sonic innovation for that matter. Also Lotus Flower sounded much better solo on his semiacoustic guitar than in that wankish version that made it onto KoL. Plz somebody, help the bloke snap out of it!!!

  30. Any artist capable-enough to write an album like ‘Ok Computer’ has the license to go and take their music into any direction he wishes to. Thom’s music has morphed over the years, he’s an incredible song writer and as of lately, top-notch performer >insert Thom-dancing red pants here< but he has always stuck to his guts. AMOK, just like any of his other musical projects is something that requires repeated listens in order to truly appreciate. With KOL, Thom wrote one of the most mind-blowing songs I have/had ever heard with 'Bloom'. I still go back and listen to the song just to remind myself of it's existence. I know I'm mostly biased when it comes to anything Thom Yorke/Radiohead-related mainly because I"m a fan, but one thing I know for sure: a pre-mature evaluation is nothing more than, well…. a premature evaluation.

  31. I’m not even a fan Ok Datta but I think Kid A, Amnesiac, HTTT and In Rainbows are nothing short of fantastic and they merge electronics with acoustic in a very refined way and the result is larger than the parts separated. With this I only hear production. No songs.

  32. I know it’s a matter of taste and opinion, but let’s just call it for what it is, people. If you don’t like music heavy on production and electronic flourishes, then of course you don’t like it. In which case, your criticism should be limited to “I wish this wasn’t electronic…”, which, let’s face it, is not a criticism as much as it is just whining that you didn’t get your way. This album was not meant for you. There are obviously songs here, (some really great ones in fact), you just don’t like the style.

    If you do actually like electronic music, just not Thom’s, then go into that. What about this in particular is rubbing you the wrong way?

    I know it’s rediculous to expect logical critical analysis on public forums such as this, but I really am sick of “This sucks because I don’t like it.”

    Ok I’m done now.

  33. It bothers the hell out of me that people who write about music for a living aren’t familiar with Mauro Refosco and don’t really know what percussionists do.

  34. About time Yorke & co. (whoever present co. may be) took another quantum leap. They’ve been on the glitchy electronic train too long. While it’s all sonically “clever-clever”, there is a foreboding sense of cold detachment. I would love to feel the warmth and passion the best music evokes in me.

  35. Apparently calling it out as it is gets you downvoted. Bollocks.

  36. But why does it have to be so LOUD?
    Do musicians even know we still have volume knobs? Horrible mastering is killing otherwise great music (see Flying Lotus)

  37. KIDCHAIR, i certainly can’t answer for everyone who doesn’t love this album, but I can tell you why I don’t. Torke and his musical cohorts, in my opinion, are responsible for one of the most interesting and transparent growth spurts in musical history.

    Pablo Honey wasn’t a bad album. Very much of its time and a pretty solid debut with a classic song. However, had they not followed it up with The Bends, Radiohead would now be on one of VH1′s ” One Hit Wonders of the 90′s” shows. The Bends was such a a huge leap ( another debut to sophomore album jump I can compare it to is Fiona’s huge leap from Tidal to WTP). It cemented Radiohead as a band with a vision and a sound of their own. THEN came OK Computer. WHAAT?!?! It was SO effing good that being a fan of Radiohead meant ” Ok. If they can keep topping themselves like this, what possibly can they do next?” And then comes Kid A.

    In the span of 4 albums, they had totally transformed themselves, making each album look and sound like a logical and natural step from the last, even though it shouldn’t have made sense “on paper”. They were like the music world’s MacGyver, cleverly finding a way out of the sound they had worked themselves into by throwing out all the rules, using the tools they had gathered along the way and the tools they had just acquired to reach new ground. The excitement was in knowing that they WOULD reach new ground, and that it would be nothing short of amazing.

    Then, Yorke and Co got predictable. To my ears, nothing has changed since In Rainbows. I know that AMOK is not a Radiohead album, but that makes it even more puzzling that a solo effort from Yorke with new musicians sounds exactly like everything he’s done since In Rainbows. I wanted so badly to put on this album for the first time and be surprised, but I wasn’t. The complicated sonics and “anit-songs” as someone stated before is just not something I need to hear again.

    Would I like this album better if Yorke didn’t sing on it? Absolutely. Because at this point, it’s verging on self-parody for me. I was excited for this album because I thought the addition of new musicians would mean Yorke taking his electronic obsession and once again integrating it within a band dynamic. That a collaboration built upon organic jam sessions would once again turn into a tool that allowed him to reach new ground. I was wrong. The only way to make this sound new would be to take off the vocals and listen to it as an instrumental work. Thom Yorke used to mean excitement for me. Now, I’m just bored.

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