Thom Yorke
Tomorrow's Modern Boxes


3.5
great

Review

by Benjamin Kuettel STAFF
October 2nd, 2014 | 28 replies


Release Date: 09/26/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A subtle album with rewarding moments and an enveloping atmosphere that come alive more and more upon repeated listens.

Among news of a new Radiohead album after almost four years, the sudden release of a solo album by lead singer Thom Yorke is a strange move, though not especially surprising. The Radiohead frontman has for the most part maintained an enigmatic public image for an international music star. His preferred musical style is made apparent on 2006’s The Eraser, which not surprisingly echoed many aspects of Radiohead’s more experimental releases. His debut was a downtempo affair with a consistent style of IDM and electronic experiments. Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes continues in a similar vein, except with an even more elusive personality and devoid of catchy hooks or accessible hits. Yorke has opted for a consistent tone with cold ambiance and varied percussion with just enough intrigue to remain interesting from beginning to end.

The Eraser was released eight years ago, and while the main ideas present haven’t changed a whole lot with this follow-up, it sounds more minimalist and provokes a similar atmosphere as Radiohead outings Amnesiac and Hail to the Thief. Much of …Boxes resembles the stranger moments from those albums than what are considered the fan favorites like “Pyramid Song” and “There There.” An absence of hooks or catchy melodies is a bold decision for an artist to make, but Yorke commits to the vision and uses his songwriting talents to make a stark, engaging enough album that stamps his own identity in the IDM genre.

An almost psychedelic style to …Boxes contributes to how the production manipulates the various sounds and melodies into a kind of abstract place at times. However the album remains grounded enough to not become lost in its own atmospheres. “Pink Section” and “Interference” are both brief, cold, ambient pieces with a flair of mystery. One might think the track listing could have been ordered a bit differently, as the three most hypnotic tracks, all longer than five minutes, each come one after the other. The momentum does not make for a logical or easy listening experience, but the loose and intangible nature of …Boxes is able to justify itself. The gratifying weirdness of Yorke’s songwriting decisions have enough personality, along with the presence of his excellent singing voice, to make for a worthwhile listening experience on multiple levels.

Despite the detached, robotic aesthetic, there are beautiful moments aplenty in Yorke’s latest. “Nose Grows Some” is probably the most emotive song of all his solo material, conjuring some of the vulnerable spirit from the electronic side of Radiohead. “Interference” and “The Mother Lode” possess beautiful synth melodies and mystery, both album highlights. Thom Yorke leaves room for more growth in future releases, taking his songwriting to eerier places while not straying too far from the styles of The Eraser and his recent supergroup, Atoms for Peace. His singing voice and unique vision make Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes a subtle yet rewarding release, conjuring distant, alien atmospheres that reveal more and more depth upon repeated listens.



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user ratings (246)
Chart.
3.3
great
other reviews of this album
IrrationalAnimal (2.5)
Thom Yorke just barely avoids "What the hell am I doing here?" status as he attempts to enter the mo...


Comments:Add a Comment 
TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
October 2nd 2014


17844 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Constructive criticism welcome as always.

Digging: Thom Yorke - Suspiria

NorthernSkylark
October 2nd 2014


9032 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

are you aware of the discrepancy?



edit: now you are.

Digging: Marianne Faithfull - Negative Capability

ZackSh33
October 2nd 2014


680 Comments


I'm not sure why you're being negged - I'll give ya a pos, there are a few clunky passages but overall a solid read

Had no interest in listening to this before, still will not listen to it now

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
October 2nd 2014


17844 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm guessing it must be trolls since my approval rating didn't change at all after one neg. I've also edited this since

posting, it should read better now.

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
October 2nd 2014


6676 Comments


(edit: fixed)
good review, could be tidied up a bit




TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
October 2nd 2014


17844 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Most of that was subtle grammar stuff that ended up changing what I had meant to say, I didn't even notice so thanks for pointing those out, fixed.

VaxXi
October 2nd 2014


4367 Comments


I hope that the new Radiohead album isnt anything similar to this album or AMOK. last thing I need is to have three different groups all share "Thom Yorke's Solo Career" name.

VaxXi
October 2nd 2014


4367 Comments


Jokes on them, if I just hog all my unfinished reviews to myself and never publish them then I cant get neg'd AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAH-ohgoshIamsouselesswhenitcomestowritingthisshitsomeonepleasehelpme

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
October 2nd 2014


6676 Comments


PS - apparently it's "Jonny Greenwood", no H

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
October 2nd 2014


17844 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks for the catch, fixed. Also the negs are going away, I had suspected they were trolls

Storm In A Teacup
October 3rd 2014


24556 Comments


I still remember buying The Eraser the week it came out and not enjoying it at all.

clercqie
October 3rd 2014


6522 Comments


I got a very Hail To The Thief-esque vibe from this as well. Good call.

ChoccyPhilly
October 3rd 2014


11781 Comments


I'm not sure why you're being negged - I'll give ya a pos, there are a few clunky passages but overall a solid read

Had no interest in listening to this before, still will not listen to it now


Basically what i was going to write

Digging: Pale - Pale

dcalderon
October 3rd 2014


435 Comments


This release made me revisit Eraser and I'm glad, it's miles better than this and much more enjoyable that I remembered.

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
October 3rd 2014


17844 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The Eraser is indeed better than this, I mean it does have Rained.

osmark86
October 3rd 2014


7774 Comments


average ey? I'll see what I think after giving this a few goes. Thom Yorke is a great musician after all.

dcalderon
October 9th 2014


435 Comments


At least The Eraser has some great songs like t/t and rain, everything on here is either solid or mediocre.

You see, that's the thing. I don't even find The Eraser as two great songs and filler; it's actually a very solid electronic albums that many high profile DJs found great (Dixon comes to mind), which makes this last release feel much more dissapointing.

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
October 20th 2014


17844 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I realized this wasn't my best, so I heavily edited the review and moved a lot of things around. This should read better now.

Nocturnalize
January 30th 2015


2463 Comments


This is definitely one of the better juggernaut reviews well done hope you make staff m8

iamamanfromspace
January 30th 2015


1030 Comments


Guess Again! and The Mother Lode are so gooood, especially the latter



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