AMOK by Atoms for Peace Review
Anyone that likes Radiohead is probably going to enjoy Amok, the debut album by Radiohead front man Thom Yorke’s freshly assembled supergroup, Atoms for Peace.
The band is made up of Red Hot Chilli Peppers bassist Flea, former Beck and R.E.M. drummer Joey Waronker, long time Radiohead producer and multi-instrumentalist Nigel Godrich, Forro in the Dark’s Brazilian born percussionist Mauro Refosco, and, of course, the unmistakable vocals of Mr Thom Yorke.
Originally put together as a means to perform Yorke’s first side project, The Eraser, on a live stage back in 2006, Atoms for Peace has since evolved in to an almost faultless coming together of experimental electronic beats and a more traditional, analogue groove.
At first it’s not easy to distinguish Amok from just another Radiohead album, and Godrich’s influence on production is blatant, but on closer inspection the extent to which this album differs from Radiohead’s most recent effort King of Limbs, for example, becomes far more obvious.
At its core, Amok is a dance album. Not the bump and grind kind of dancing, or even the jump up and down on the spot kind of dancing, but the “close your eyes, bob your head and slowly wave your arms around in the air like you were under the influence” kind of dancing, which is probably best demonstrated by the album’s title track, “Amok”.
The funky bass-lines and South American inspired beats contributed by Flea and Mauro Refosco respectively can be heard throughout and are notable inclusions on the release. Listen to “Stuck Together” and keep an ear out for conga drums and various percussive shaker instruments.
For all its outstanding groove, funk, and rhythm however, it is, as it so often is, Tom Yorke’s haunting vocals that stand tall above all other redeeming features and really bring Amok together. Despite being little more than a whisper for large chunks of the album’s 44 minutes of playing time, and despite his lyrics being mostly unintelligible, Yorke’s voice once again enables you to lose yourself in the music.
I recommend that you give it a listen and get lost too.