Atoms for Peace
Amok


4.0
excellent

Review

by Jonny Hunter CONTRIBUTOR (104 Reviews)
February 20th, 2013 | 52 replies


Release Date: 02/25/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Thom does what Thom does for Thom.

Somewhere along the way Thom fell in love with himself. Or maybe not himself, more his music, but it’s hard to blame him when so many millions of people fell in love with Thom too. We’re now long past the whiny, public school kid from a town whose redeeming characteristic was once described by Bill Bryson as a well kept council estate, and with a hit song amounting to an extended exercise in self pity. We now have huge, media-hungry releases and epileptic fits masquerading as music videos. He hasn’t gone full Michael Jackson with fame, not yet, but the effect fame’s had on poor Thom is unmistakable. Self obsessed, self involved and self assured enough to form a supergroup with some of the biggest names in music then absolutely dominate it, Thom’s a new man.

The crux of this paragraph is all of it shows in his music. Atoms for Peace is a Thom only affair and the only whiff of influence to be found in Amok is of Radiohead. If Thom was the man he is today at the beginning of the millennia, he would have made this exact album instead of Kid A. Musically and structurally we see no real progression: the same scattered drum pallets and samples are still popping up, even similar song ideas can be easily noted, but the direction and mood is much different. After the never ending progression of Radiohead it might be the case that Atoms for Peace is allowing Thom to visit old styles with a new headspace. If this is true he certainly seems to be making the most of it.

Plenty has changed despite this, creating a sound which for better or worse is distinctly Atoms for Peace. As an album, Amok rushes feverishly between the two polar ends of Thom’s cannon: from crescendos to a repeating percussion-lead hypnotism. The former manifests itself in “Default” and “Unless,” with steadily rising synth and vocal combos surfing the wave of percussion to a kind of desperate emotional outcry. Rapid pacing makes it seem more like an escape into something than a cry for help, and therefore more appropriate for the man dancing manically than the one crying in a shopping trolley. The latter features Thom singing to a lonely beat at his highest and softest with a seemingly random array of accompanying sounds. It isn’t unsurprising following the self-description of his writing process -i.e. dragging himself backwards through a hedge- but the more experimental vibe is much more befitting to the new group. Tracks displaying this, such as “Amok” itself, do seem at ends with the more outwardly emotional parts of the album, but it strikes closer to forward-thinking than Thom’s tendency to play with the past.

Nigel (veteran Radiohead producer), Flea (RHCP), Joey (Beck; R.E.M.) and Mauro (!) eventually get their say in the scattered rhythmic scenes in Amok. Behind the In Rainbows-esque guitar strums, “Stuck Together Pieces” displays the band at work. Inventive percussion and a bass full of a little bit more funk serve as a reminder of the three extra members, though most of the time there’s little to see past the airtight seal of Thom’s personality.

The likelihood of warming to Amok is largely down to whether or not you can stand Thom being in love with himself for 9 songs. It’s inventive, sensitive, beautiful and incredibly interesting, especially for someone who’s spent a great deal of time exploring Thom’s previous work, but at the same time the album teeters on the edge of smugness. Despite this, and ignoring the fact this praise may be the final straw in pushing Thom’s ego over the edge, the album comes highly recommended.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
February 19th 2013


2715 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

This was hard to write

Originally posted here: http://www.muzikdizcovery.com/2013/02/album-review-atoms-for-peace-amok.html

demigod!
February 19th 2013


44793 Comments


still need to hear this

solid review

Digging: Iced Earth - Night of the Stormrider

Chortles
February 19th 2013


18009 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nice one

Album is sweeee

Digging: Jacaszek - Treny

tommygun
February 19th 2013


24992 Comments


good review pos

need this hard

was hoping thom would let flea off the leash more than review suggests but

Tyrannic
February 19th 2013


3262 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

is this streaming anywhere yet

demigod!
February 19th 2013


44793 Comments


on their site yeah

Chortles
February 19th 2013


18009 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nah tommy it's still all about thom

Flea doesn't really have presence which is a lil disappointing but it's still dope

puertasmagicas
February 19th 2013


61 Comments


Pos'd. I guess that's the problem with geniuses. It's hard to lie to them and tell them that they aren't, even if it would be for their benefit (hello Omar Rodriguez!)

tommygun
February 19th 2013


24992 Comments


no worries chorts I dig the eraser so still real excited I mean I love flea's bass fucking me in my ribcage but I get that there is a time n place for it

tragic.details
February 19th 2013


624 Comments


Been waiting on this for a while. Still need to hear Thom's first album, though.

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
February 19th 2013


4445 Comments

Album Rating: 2.9

Fantastic review, man.
I definitely agree with everything you said, and I enjoyed this quite a lot myself. Though I was disappointed that the presence of the other musicians involved wasn't really felt besides Nigel (for obvious reasons). I like Thom's electronic stuff very much, like The Eraser and all the post-Kid A stuff, but I was hoping for something different this time around. It's a great album though, no doubt about it.

ConorIsNotHere
February 19th 2013


1285 Comments


Thom Yorke (less than 3)
Very good review. Pos'd.

mindleviticus
February 19th 2013


8295 Comments


This might be your finest review, mate.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
February 19th 2013


7110 Comments


pos'd, and since i have nothing else to contribute, i'll be on my way.

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
February 19th 2013


3471 Comments


Pos. I'll be whoring out a feature for this in the meds thread, see you guys later

Uranium
February 19th 2013


7248 Comments


ooo i didn't know this was out

YourDarkAffected
Contributing Reviewer
February 19th 2013


1677 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I don't agree with your position on Thom's ego, but good review on the album nonetheless.

Digging: Carbon Based Lifeforms - World Of Sleepers

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
February 19th 2013


23921 Comments


hell yeah, amped for this

Digging: RATKING - So It Goes

Tyrannic
February 19th 2013


3262 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is i8

Uranium
February 19th 2013


7248 Comments


this feels real good on my brain



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