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Album Review

Thom Yorke's Atoms for Peace involves longtime Radiohead engineer/producer Nigel Godrich (Ultraísta) and bassist Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), as well as two session veterans in drummer Joey Waronker (R.E.M., Ultraísta) and percussionist Mauro Refosco (Forro in the Dark). For their first public performance, back in 2009, they performed Yorke's Godrich-assisted 2006 album The Eraser in its entirety, as well as some fresh material. Over three years later, they've come up with this, a product of jam sessions formed — by Yorke and Godrich — into a uniform nine-track album. It sounds more like a fleshier successor to Yorke's first solo album than it does a first step, and it's presented that way, from Stanley Donwood's woodcut illustrations to the band's name — the same as a track title on The Eraser. Due to the nature of the recording process, the material is more about sounds — rippling rhythms, more specifically — than songs. Attempting to discern the organic from the mutated and the processed is a fool's errand yet part of the appeal. Listeners will be either unnerved or fascinated by the use of Flea's low-throbbing lines, which add warmth, rarely propel, and are sometimes obscured beneath piles of shifting percussion. Given all the thick layering of sounds, Yorke's words — normally enunciated and mixed in such a way to enable transcription with only a slight headache as a reward — tend to act as another element rather than as a focal point. The lyrics probably weren't written at the bassist's house after some drunken pool playing. They're in typical Yorke character, consisting of vaguely conveyed altercations and conflicts: "You got me into this mess," "I couldn't care less," "But it's eating me up," "They try to jump me," "Go back to where you came from," "I'm like the wind and my anger will disperse." In other words, this is another Thom Yorke solo album, and it sounds really nice on decent headphones.

Customer Reviews

The click click clack

Listening to this album with your eyes closed is a frightening and surreal experience. The fusion of dizzying electronic percussion and polly-rhythmic drum beats, punctuated by echos of synth, punishing bass lines, and haunting vocals all add up to make listening to this album feel like riding on a freight train that's both falling apart and coming together at the same time. By the time you reach the title tack, with its perfect pacing and resolute, though merciless, piano chords, you'll feel like you've flown to hell and back on the wings of a million bats.

Multiple listens

I think this album needs multiple listens before it can be judged, it's kind of all over the place. For now though, I'll give it 5 stars cause I'm sure I'll come to understand it further down the line... Most of Thom's work seems to have that kind of effect on me

Continuation of Yorke's prior work.

If you are a fan of recent Radiohead albums you will enjoy this one without a doubt.


Formed: 2009 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s, '10s

The nameless lineup that became Atoms for Peace made its public debut at Los Angeles, California's Echoplex on October 2, 2009. Thom Yorke, joined by longtime Radiohead associate Nigel Godrich (Ultraísta) and Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), as well as session veterans Joey Waronker (also of Ultraísta) and Mauro Refosco (Forro in the Dark), performed the entirety of Yorke's 2006 album The Eraser and some fresh material, including a song titled "Judge Jury and Executioner." Additional Los Angeles dates,...
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Amok, Atoms for Peace
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Customer Ratings