Give Attention to Atoms For Peace


Atoms for Piece, which is comprised of collaborative efforts from the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea (otherwise known as “the Australian one”), Joey Waronker, who was also a prominent member of Beck and R.E.M, with musical aficionado, Mauro Refosco, Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, and finally, to top it all off is the man whom needs no introduction, Thom Yorke, who both is responsible for spearheading the project as well as taking care of vocals on the album.

This album follows from Yorke’s seminal breakaway solo record, The Eraser. That stripped-back, minimal sound is apparent again in Amok. It is part-robot, with heavy repetition of clicks and beats, but there is a warmness in there too, due to the computer-made sounds being paired with the artists (as listed) to create some emotion with their instruments on the record.

If you listen to this album as background music you will not be able to pick up on the brittleness of the electronic notes, gently merged with the sounds of a hand sliding over the frets of an acoustic guitar or the subtlety of Yorke’s vocal notes. I think it’s important to listen with some sort of focus, consciously take in the production, or it could just be written off as a quieter rendition of Yorke’s 2006 release. But, if you do skim over this record, give particular attention to Default, where Yorke’s vocals are strewn between mechanic beats but there is a softness added in the chorus as the building vocals are balanced with synth cords. Or the quiet mess of instruments in Stuck Together in Pieces is also a highlight and worth a listen.  

It’s a record that, on paper, should be an absolute hit, due to it featuring so many accomplished artists. But rather,  it’s a slow burner, something that needs quite a bit of extra time and effort dedicated to understand its complexity, and even then, it does not really take off as strongly as it should.

Words by Carol Bowditch