Music Review: Amok – Atoms for peace

Band: Atoms for Peace
Title: Amok
Genre: Alternative rock, Experimental rock, Electronics, Thom Yorke
Producer: Nigel Godrich
Label: XL Recordings
Release date: 25th February, 2013

The debut album by the Alternative rock band Atoms For Peace, Amok features Thom Yorke, the Radiohead Singer (vocals, guitar, keyboards), bassist Flea, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Joey Waronker of Beckand R.E.M at drums, Radiohead engineer/producer Nigel Godrich  and percussionist Mauro Refosco. An arduous intricate exercise in micro-produced digitalia, it’s a pertinent artistic album.

It has such lavishly diverse participation, which essentially results in a collection of buoyant, moderate rock songs. This 9 track album is an enthralling listen full of compelling contrasts.

Let us dig into its striking features then.

Track-1: Before Your Very Eyes

‘Before Your Very Eyes’, the inaugural track floats along gloriously. A well nigh tribal composition intact with dulcimer, drum and bass rhythm. The track opens with looped guitar and the bass guitar that clamps along. The distorted synthesizer and synth bass line makes it more compelling and forceful.

A great addition to the album!

Track-2: Default

“Default” is the album’s first single, which somewhere falls short of a song’s emotional value. Apparently, listeners will have a tendency to relate it with Thom Yorke’s The Eraser. Whole track is wrapped up with throbbing, rattling or drizzling. It’s a jittery five minute ride that may leave a cold impression on the listener. The drums are louder in this track.

Track-3: Ingenue

Thom’s shift to electronic core from indie rock has been an interesting one. A soul carol “Ingenue” is a compassionate and nostalgic turn, yet also most enigmatic. Yorke performed a wild, visionary number with contemporary dancer Fukiko Takase. It is worth getting just for this song alone. This track is characterized by its warped and shimmering layers.

Track-4: Dropped

“Dropped”, is more high-strung track displaying lively instrumentation. It showcases the true meaning of heartbreak and pain. Here, Yorke’s voice combines with clipped orchestrated sounds. “Ingenue”, “Dropped” and “Unless” form a trio of throbbing tracks.  Dropped- weakest of all, but okay.

Track-5: Unless

“Unless” blends variations of boom bap with drum and bass. It creates a sense of paranoia, markedly while listening with headphones. However one may find the track distracting from the cadence of the music.

Track-6: Stuck Together Pieces

This is a jazz-jungle-hued track that gives a feeling of an anxiety attack. And the peaceful guitar melody accompanying the obsessive vocal is really soothing. Flea’s talent on the bass comes through on “Stuck Together Pieces”.

Track-7: Judge, Jury and Executioner

Second single track of the album and is the shortest off all tracks. On “Judge, Jury, And Executioner” Thom wails, “don’t worry, baby, it goes right through me/ I’m like the wind and my anger will disperse.” It is mellower and more harmonious than “Default”.

Track-8: Reverse Running

“Reverse Running” revolves on its opening groove for really long. It passes on into a crowd of electronic bees which gives a contemporary feel. The music is tangled and knotted behind Yorke’s voice which is the focal point of the track.

 Track-9: Amok

It is the swan song of the album. On AMOK, Yorke’s lyrics incline to drift in and out of precision. This track is featured by its deep bass undercurrents and chaffs of crackling and snapping drums. It has justifiable hooks and crooks.

Broadly, it is a frail, praiseworthy record well worth investigating. This satisfies all my carvings for mind-boggling progressive rhythms. I recommend everyone go pickup ‘Amok’ today.

With inputs from Anup Sharma



shailys@dubeat.com; Studying in Gargi College, a final year B.Com(Hons.) student, she is currently the Associate Editor at DU Beat. She hates being idle and loves flexibility in life. She totally agrees with James A. Michener in his saying: “I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.”


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