By Devin Duckworth | February 19th, 2013
After what seems like years with sporadic releases and surprise performances, Thom Yorke and his trusted crew of music geniuses has decided to debut Amok a few days early in its entirety, along with a sick visualizer to sync with the palpitations of your feverish heart.
Some of you might recognize Atoms For Peace as Thom Yorke’s side project, but this supergroup – comprised of Yorke and Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, Beck drummer Joey Waronker, and Brazilian percussionist Mauro Refosco — has put together a solid, nine-track effort following the success of their 2010 album, The Eraser.
Starting with “Before Your Very Eyes…” you immediately feel AFP’s turbulent winds of electronica migrate you through magnetic clouds and robust darkness. The perfect way to commence an album, this song carries forward a magnanimous amount of rhythms that send you to a mysterious, cosmic landscape.
“Default” takes you to glitchier territory, with continuous beat progressions and reverberated vocals that sit in parallel structure as they glide into your ears in perfect unison. Once “Ingenue” begins, it’s almost as if you’re being levitated into a watery escape of in a dark, mysterious cave. It’s beautiful, murky, and altogether captivating.
“Dropped” picks up the pace with a heavier beat progression that merges with Yorke’s ghostly vibrato around the 1:25 mark. Once this fusion takes place, the once-divided sound is congruently morphed into a liquified matter that feeds off of Flea’s insanely hypnotic bass riffs.
“Unless” recalls the nervous instrumentals found in The Eraser with a caged spirit that permeates through broken up vocal arrangements and cerebral ambiguities until you enter the realm of “Stuck Together Pieces.” This track takes your mind machine to a textural landscape that audibly penetrates you in the best ways possible.
“Reverse Running” takes on more frenetic foundations, with complex visualizations and elaborate layering that confidently whirls you around until title track, “Amok” is introduced. The prefatory instrumentals buzz and twitch on top of minimal electronics and phantasmal vocal fragmentation, making it an achingly beautiful reactant of all its predecessors and a deliberately effective outro.
Whether you’re an ongoing fan of Atoms For Peace or this is your first rodeo, one thing is clear: these guys have each given themselves an authoritative identity. It’s not just Thom Yorke’s solo project anymore, no, this is a collective of musical champions that have come together to create an otherworldly and transformative experience for their audiences. Amok as a whole, evokes a glorious fever dream that is superbly executed and serves as an ideal successor to The Eraser.