Album of the Week: Thom Yorke, 'ANIMA'


Thom Yorke, 'ANIMA'
Thom Yorke, 'ANIMA' (XL)
David Safar - Album of the Week: Thom Yorke, 'ANIMA'
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Almost 20 years after the release of Kid A, Thom Yorke's third solo album, ANIMA, is a work of art that feels like the long-awaited companion piece to the album that redefined Radiohead. It's a dense composition that draws from all of Yorke's work including solo projects, soundtracks, and collaborations. Heavily laced with electronics and still steeped in a process that mystifies the most dedicated fans, Thom Yorke and longtime collaborator and producer, Nigel Godrich, deliver an album that is arguably Yorke's best solo work to date.

Thom Yorke's solo work outside of Radiohead traces back to 2006's The Eraser. The album was released just before the band's pay-what-you-want innovative release of In Rainbows, and while his solo work was well received, it wasn't clear how or when Yorke's solo career would develop in parallel to Radiohead. After a relatively quiet period as the band continued to release albums on their expected 4-year cycle, Yorke has become somewhat prolific since his second solo release, Tomorrow's Modern Boxes, the supergroup Atoms for Peace, and a collection of soundtrack contributions and collaborations. What started as a creative endeavor has developed into a touring show and a new album that ties together Yorke's seemingly disparate artistic modes into one album.

ANIMA has the DNA of a Radiohead album, but with a touch of additional experimentation. The release is sequenced to keep you listening through the 9 songs that span from the "single-friendly" tune, "Not the New," that clock in under 4 minutes to the ethereal "Twist" that attempts to expand your consciousness into Yorke and Godrich's dreamscape. Where other solo albums failed to feel cohesive or were considered self-indulgent, ANIMA, has more consistent crescendos as it oscillates between intense rhythmic patterns and more sparse chord changes. The album is best consumed on headphones or at top volume with no distractions. When you let it draw you into the sonic bath of sound, even the most skeptical fans will be won over by ANIMA.

Thom Yorke's "ANIMA" is out now on XL Records Recordings.

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