Any project that sports Thom Yorke’s name is definitely going to be something of a creative journey that requires an undeniably large amount of will power to overcome the seductive charm his music possesses. The Radiohead front man’s latest venture brings together drummer Joey Waronker, fellow Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, Brazilian percussionist Mauro Refosco and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea working the bass. This unique blend of musicians from different scopes have rightfully named themselves Atoms for Peace after the 1953 Nobel Prize nominated speech given by Dwight Eisenhower.
In the band’s first collection of songs entitled Amok, there is a unique fusion of electronic synths, highly addicting bass lines, and psychedelic rhythms all while maintaining the powerful undertone of cryptic lyrics Yorke fans have come to know. Surprisingly, the album came to fruition from only three days of hardcore jam sessions and months of polishing by Godrich and Yorke. Their artistic endeavor shows threads of revelatory grooves that keep the album sounding slightly unconventional and fresh.
Immediately upon listening to this supergroup’s album, it is clear that there is a much more complex set of instrumentals at play when compared to Yorke’s most recent solo effort The Eraser. This is a welcome feature that blends well with his lustrous, powerful vocals. The track “Default” is a high-end sound design that is a complete example of how Atoms for Peace combines woody snaps and dynamic electronics into their experimental pop project. It is one of the album’s many instances where it exhibits a strong possibility to reach dance floor demographics that even Yorke’s Radiohead hasn’t necessarily been able to reach due to the much more electronic sound Amok is going for.
Other songs that contribute to the distinction of a uniquely Atoms for Peace sound are “Ingenue,” “Dropped,” and the title trac. These tracks captivate Yorke and Godrich’s successful synthesizing that manifest in a pleasing fluidity between tracks. They all progress along in a harmonious fashion, which is mainly because of the top-notch production and seamless integration of electronica synths. It is often easy to forget this band is a product of alternate group’s until Yorke’s distinct vocals light up the songs in the same way he ignites the Radiohead albums. The sound Amok goes for is distant than that of the diverse member’s other bands, but it doesn’t stray too far as a result of Thom Yorke’s vocals.
Atoms for Peace’s debut album Amok isn’t attempting to tower into the same landscape as the group’s various native bands. Instead it stems into its own category of artistry, even if it did come around from a three day drunken stint. This highly anticipated release was well worth the wait and a probable psychedelic experience is inevitable given the nature of Yorke’s progression into mind numbing electronics.