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  • Amok
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4.4 out of 5 stars72
4.4 out of 5 stars
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3.5 Stars

Atoms for Peace are of a sort of "supergroup" (don't groan!) fronted by Thom Yorke of the popular beat combo Radiohead. Around the table with him are long-time producer Nigel Godrich, the serial collaborator Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers, REM/Beck drummer Joey Waronker and another Chili Peppers' luminary Brazilian percussionist Mauro Refosco. Radiohead's last album "King of Limbs" split the jury with its freeform, quirky and mechanistic beats not least in its first half. It was nonetheless a grower and in any case Yorke shows no desire to play to the gallery and return to the big rock sounds of "The Bends" or "OK Computer".

This project according to Yorke was the product of a session which involved rather too much wine and spirits where he and Flea ended up "tired and emotional" after spending hours listening to Fela Kuti. The influence of African funk rhythms can be clearly located on "AMOK" not least on the nice opener "Before your very eyes" but if anything the star of the show is Goodrich whose synth playing is everywhere. Overall "Amok" is a much happier affair than the "King of Limbs" although in parts its does have some experimentation that's a bit undercooked and for this reviewer doesn't have the immediacy of "Eraser". The album is about shifts and contrasts no more so than on track such as the excellent "Default" with its slabs of synth and typical Yorke lyrics about "making my bed and lying in it". The fourth song "Dropped" is possibly the best thing on "Amok". It is darkly twisted and has a beautifully cynical York vocal which echoes back to "Hail to the Thief" era Radiohead. Some songs, however. such as "Unless" are exercises for the band to show their virtuosity with Flea's slap bass pushing the vehicle forward, but are they great listens? The song "Stuck together pieces" could be a subtitle for the album and is a nice funky little beast with a twist of underlying threat. "Judge, jury and executioner" has an angelic choir like backdrop and really does show the worth of the project where all the sum of the parts fit. The same is true of the fascinating "Reverse Running" and although the debt to Aphex Twin is clear its buzzy six minutes are hugely enjoyable. Not so the title track which is meticulously constructed and clever but does show Yorke's tendency to self-sabotage as you sense there is a better song in here waiting to get out.

Atoms for Peace is a hugely worthwhile side project and if it does represent the state of Yorke musical mind then there is clearly much more mileage to be travelled from his current key influences of UK bass music and bands like Squarepusher and Boards of Canada. AMOK is a genuinely inventive and innovative yet on first listen it is easier to admire than love and truly memorable songs are in short supply. That said much of Yorke's music does creep up on you and unpicking the albums dense fabrics will undoubtedly generate significant rewards.
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on 24 April 2013
Superb album,and a real grower. Each track is a different emotional trip for me and is Thom Yorke at his best. Superb vocals and a great sound to the whole album. Awesome....
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on 30 May 2013
It took me a few plays to get into this album but now i cannot stop playing it.
Thom Yorke never fails to excel in his art.
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on 26 January 2014
Got the cd but then managed to get hold of the ltd edn 9 lp screen printed box set. Resisted opening it for 4 months but now played it. What a revelation1 The vinyl is a universe apart from the in a magical world rather than a pleasant place. Donn't need to say any more apart from just get the box set (if you can)
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on 7 April 2013
For me, Thom Yorke's debut solo album, The Eraser, was already on a par with if not superior to the best of Radiohead's output. Amok, technically recorded by Atoms for Peace though Thom Yorke's direction is unmistakeable, continues and reinforces that trend - Amok outshines anything Thom Yorke has recorded so far, as part of Radiohead or otherwise. This is a bold claim but the strength of this record is such that I am more than happy to make it.

The production on this record is something I have never before experienced - utterly perfect and mesmerizing. The percussions alone would make a fine album. Add in the base, the keyboards, the voice, the electronic tidbits and the vast array of instruments and this is a classic album in the making. All the songs seem to surpass each other and they're already all favourites of mine.

Of course I need to make clear that I love Thom Yorke's development as an artist from alternative rock to electro-rock and that for me the best of Radiohead's work starts with Kid A, much as I like The Bends and OK Computer. If you're fortunate enough to own a decent and above average sound system, this record will titillate your ears and your mind in a way that no other record in existence can quite manage - of course, this is my personal opinion.

I cannot thank Atoms for Peace (and Amazon) enough for this gem of a record.

Five stars easy
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on 25 February 2015
Very good. Not quite all the way through but it is very good on a few I must get around to buying the Eraser by Thome Yorke and would be very cool if he and the rest of Radiohead were back to recording a new album.

Thome Yorke and the rest of Radiohead are for me a modern collection of musical geniuses.

Not many around anymore and Floyd, Moby, Jarre, Oldfield along with a few others like the Doors and Zeppelin belong to this unique group, for me, of creating ground breaking you tend to pay attention to anything they do! Lol.
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on 8 November 2013
This band need no introduction, any album with Thom Yorke usually sells.
So no surprises here. The vinyl is very well made and package.

First listen, did not get into it. The music kind of aimless... I guess Thom is in his dupstep mode again. Flea as usual with all his funk in his blood, very predictable.

Second and third listen, I gave it another shot. It is a ok album, nothing special nothing fantastic. This isn't his best work, I still very much prefer the old Thom in Radiohead.

Having said all that, it is still a good album to owned and listen to when you feel like dancing.
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on 21 October 2014
With Thom Yorke as the front man you know exactly what you are going to get. An electronic experimental album... but it is not really that experimental as both the recent Radiohead and solo albums are quite similar. Flea (RHCP) brings a bounce to the baseline which actually gives all the songs a quick pace... unfortunately this also makes them a little samey.
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on 12 April 2013
Fantastic album,one of the few that sound as good on cd as vinyl (well all most ! )this album has great music with great quality production,so will rock and test your system.
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on 19 August 2013
...I suspect you will love this also!

Although an almost out and out electronic sound has be opted for here this album retains Thom Yorke’s distinctively melancholic, brooding and almost maudlin signature style.
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