Anyone who knows me well, knows that I’m a huge fan of Radiohead frontman, Thom Yorke. So when I found out that Thom was working on an album for his side band Atoms for peace (AFP), I was on board before a single was even released. His work even beforehand with the solo album The Eraser was a definite qualification if we wondered at all if Thom was ready to start something new. AMOK is quite possibly one of the best albums to come from a Supergroup this year by far.
I am proud to say that Thom doesn’t disappoint at all. From the beginning AFP goes all out with a great starting track “Before your very eyes”. The track delivers a clean, crisp guitar riff throughout, all topped off with a mellow bass line from Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea (Michael Balzary).
“Default” was my favorite song for a while the day it was released. I would play it getting out of bed, while studying and just because. The infectious beat was unlike any electronic work I had ever heard from the Radiohead frontman. “Ingenue” has that classic beat/sampling work that is obviously overseen by Thom, and the lyric “Fools rushing in” could possibly be a reference to the incredible ’09 masterpiece “Ladies and Gentleman, We are floating in space” by Spiritualized. Nigel Godrich (keyboard and synth) does a remarkable job of creating unique electronics and new sounds but still stays true to the mysterious theme of this record. No matter what AFP does, everything seems to revolve around Thom Yorke’s haunting vocal range. Whether He is moaning in the background or using his trademark swoon/falsetto almost to set the atmosphere and take you to a place you have yet to experience musically, such is the case with the song “Dropped”.
A feeling that all might not be well is achieved when “darkness follows…and no tomorrows” there seems as though something has angered him as he decides to go for his usual walk in the song “Judge, Jury and Executioner”. The drum time signatures and bass lines also get more complex as we progress through this album, obviously showing that AFP isn’t a one-trick pony with catchy tunes like “Stuck Together Pieces” and “Reverse Running”.
The closing song “Amok” makes sure they finish strong and still leave you with a feeling as if this song is eternal but you somehow don’t want it to end.
Overall, this album is great if you are a die-hard Radiohead fan, Red Hot Chili Peppers fan, or just someone looking for something new to listen to, you will be soothed if not satisfied by the sounds of Atoms for Peace with their album AMOK.