Album Review: Atoms for Peace – Amok

posted by on february 26, 2013 at 12:38 pm in Album Reviews

Atoms for Peace - AMOK

our rating

7.1

(good)

key points

  • radiohead-esque sound
  • thom yorke's voice
  • doesn't seem like a collaborative effort

key tracks

  • default
  • unless
  • judge, jury and executioner
  • amok

songs from the album

default
judge, jury and executioner

alec’s review

flow
9
originality
8
listenability
7
my score
8

Atoms for Peace started as Thom Yorke’s cover band when he did a few shows supporting his solo album The Eraser, and Amok, the band’s debut album of collaborative material, still feels that way. Not to say that that’s a bad thing. Yorke has become a sonic virtuoso after just over two decades of Radiohead experience and is one of the most innovative and talented alternative musicians in the world. The album sounds kind of like newer Radiohead, as one might expect, with an emphasis on percussion and semi-minimalist electronic melodies. Yorke’s singing is as sweet-sounding as ever, for those of us who are used to it by now. It’s more like his lyrics are just another instrument in the various layers of each track rather than an independent entity, but that doesn’t bother me. The album is as tight as anything  that Radiohead ever put out, meaning that everything feels like it has been placed in just the right place to create the coolest sound. I only have two real issues with the album that keep me from loving it entirely. First off, it still sounds like a Thom Yorke cover band. I could be wrong here, but the amount that this album sounds like Radiohead and not like, for example, the Chili Peppers shows that maybe collaboration is an overstatement. I occasionally forgot that Flea was even in the band, and it makes me feel like there is a Yorke creative monopoly. The other issue is that none of the songs really reach out and make me feel anything. The best albums are full of emotion, and Radiohead has a couple, but Amok feels quite cold. Still, it’s a great listen, if not a very meaningful one.

Impression: The album, while sonically great, is too much like a collection of cool sounds that fit together nicely rather than collaborative art.

alex h’s review

flow
7.5
originality
8.5
listenability
7
my score
7.5

I recently wrote a short bit about this album and how excited I was that Amok was coming out. With the Yorke’s unique voice and the very distict bass of Flea, Amok did not underwhelm nor did it overwhelm. This album is very good, but nothing wow-ed me. Starting with “Before Your Eyes…”, I was pleased; a relatively relaxed track topped with Yorke’s voices makes for an almost hypnotic sound. From here, it moves to “Default”, on the singles Atoms for Peace released beforehand and my favorite track from Amok. The rest of the songs are great; they manage to vary a lot while still having a complete album sound. When I listened to the singles, they were dominated by Radiohead’s sound, which is not a bad thing, but Atoms for Peace has some amazing musicians at their disposal and I was afraid that their potential would not be tapped if they stuck to one sound. For the most part, they did disappoint. One will note many different genres and sounds that are pulled from throughout the album, however there is still a heavy Radiohead influence.

Impression: This is a great album through and through. Yorke and company produce a sound that, although very Radiohead-like, incorporates many new sounds. The downside, nothing wow-ed me.

alex s’ review

flow
7
originality
5
listenability
6
my score
6

Before even listening to Amok, I was already conflicted in whether or not I would enjoy it. The reason for this being that I do not like Radiohead… because of Thom Yorke’s voice. So, I did not know how I would feel about this album that would be heavily featuring the voice of Mr. Yorke. Radiohead and Thom Yorke opinions aside, time for an album review. Although this album contains a superstar lineup, I do not believe that they are changing the music game or doing anything revolutionary. It is a very low key chill album that sounds very much like something Radiohead would put out. The majority of the songs sounded similar, with none really standing out above the rest. It was very synth-y with some glitchy background music with Thom Yorke singing. Although many Radiohead fans will find this appealing, those who are not big Radiohead fans may find this album less than interesting.

Impression: Radiohead fans will love it, non-Radiohead fans won’t like it. Definitely see more things like this coming from Atoms for Peace.

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