Website: Thom Yorke
The Inside Pulse:
There were some pretty substantial rumours that there would be new Radiohead material this year. They’ve been touring, playing the new stuff, and it’s been pretty well released in bootleg form for a while now. So what the hell is this? Well, in lieu of finishing the record and releasing it when they originally said they would (last spring), Thom decided to tie us over by releasing a disc that sounds like it’s been done for a while now. In fact, it sounds like it was recorded around the same time as Amnesiac. It’s small-stage Radiohead, essentially, with slightly different tones and themes, but essentially the same kind of thing. This is a shift ftom most other solo records, since this is in no way a sign that Radiohead is through. Thom isn’t even touring for this thing. He just wanted to give us something new. So good on them for product, at least.
For anyone who liked the really dark parts of Hail To The Thief, this is pure bliss. It’s pretty much an entire album in the key of “The Gloaming”, and if that sits as well with you as it does for me, then you’ll have no problem. The whole thing stays low, like a current to your night. It’s also oddly really good driving music, so long as you’re driving at 3am through several graveyards. And, really, it does what it set out to do; whet our appetites for new Radiohead.
While maybe one or two songs on here feel enough like Radiohead, most of them are distinctly different in flavour. This could be a positive, but since it’s meant to more or less make us want the big dish more, some folks might not take kindly to the differences. Also, if you were anticipating a return to anything resembling ‘rock and/or roll’, don’t bother. This is a record full of broken electronica and out-of-focus synth.
Essentially, take the parts of Amnesiac that make you feel claustrophobic, mix them with “A Wolf At The Door” and “The Gloaming” and have Thom sing rather optomistic vocals over them while sounding sad.
Reason To Buy:
Because it’s a really good album, context aside. It is definitely listen-to-by-yourself stuff, but so is a lot of Radiohead anyway. It’s everything you’d ever want from a Thom Yorke solo project, really.