Thom Yorke: Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes

11 Dec

Cover FrontTomorrow’s Modern Boxes, presumably named for the electronica long-time Radiohead fans have been grumbling about increasingly over the last few years, breathes a new humanness into music made primarily from computers.

Whilst this album is the new apex of Yorke’s forays into electronic music, its comparatively minimal instrumental* and bold percussion make it more accessible and cohesive than Amok (Atoms for Peace; 2013) or The King of Limbs (Radiohead; 2011). Its melodies carry the familiar tranquil melancholy we heard in snatches in Radiohead’s recent work, with “Give up the Ghost” on The King of Limbs and “Videotape” on In Rainbows, drawing us once again into the foggy, barren landscape of Thom Yorke’s mind. Yorke’s vocals sound rawer here than we have heard them in a while, and his falsetto more delicate. Coupled with modest reappearances of the piano, the effect is emotive and comforting in a way reminiscient of Radiohead’s much earlier work (circa The Bends).

Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes is not as groundbreaking as In Rainbows or The King of Limbs**, but is immediately familiar and consoling, like the smell of your best friend’s clothes when they’re the only person who doesn’t make you lie about the rough time you’re having. My favourite tracks so far are “Guess Again!”“Interference” and “Nose Grows Some”.

 

*erm, computer noises. Are they all “synth”? I don’t know.
**neglecting to mention Amok, which was also not particularly groundbreaking even if it was very good.

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