Amok - Atoms for Peace
Grooviest of the year
Amok was the first record of the year I really attached to. It seemed somewhat disregarded by critics, but it seems to me that the main reason for that is the people that are still expecting the lyrical genius of Thom Yorke circa OK Computer / Kid A. Though Amok is no follow-up to either of those albums, it neither intends nor wants to be. This album is not focused on heady concepts or in depth poetry, its more animalistic, more about grooves. And I think it succeeds greatly in that area. Each song showcases Yorke’s idiosyncratic rhythms with staccato percussion always popping out in unexpected corners. Just try following the rhythm on the single “Default.” But Yorke is not just a calculating computer when it comes to his work; the percussion is merely the glittering skeleton that forms the frame for his emotional compositions. “Before Your Very Eyes”and “Ingenue” are very heartfelt, with his falsetto croon really emoting. His execution of the lyric, “If I knew now / What I knew then” really stuck with me for its sincerity. But these are not just soppy songs, the Flea’s influence over the band doesn’t allow for that. His funky basswork on “Judge, Jury and Executioner” and “Stuck Together Pieces” provides for a nice counterpoint to Thom as a whole. It’s not something I usually mention about recordings, but it’s unavoidable to speak on how together this group sounds as a whole. The mix of electronic and live playing forms an airtight presentation that I personally find very appealing. But more than all the details of Amok, it was the general affect that really made this one of the albums I returned to most this year. All of these songs just seemed like they were made with great pleasure, each one a work of love. When comparing interviews from Kid A to today, Yorke seems like such a closed off arsehole then. Nowadays he seems to take himself and his music a lot less seriously and the positive effects are plain to see: He seems much happier than before. Amok as a whole to me is a product of happiness. No longer is Yorke setting his artistic goals sky high. Instead, the goal seems to be to just have fun and let all of us join in.