A couple of years ago, backstage at a small music festival, Thom Yorke walked past me after standing about three feet away for about ten minutes. It was late, I was exhausted after a day of covering multiple stages, yet his presence was welcomed as it meant more than just that my day was almost over. Yorke has been a figure in so much of modern music that he’s almost god-like in certain circles. With his third solo album Anima out digitally, he proves that all that he is as a solo artist can live up to the hype that his mere presence has become so heavily regarded for.
In many ways, the compositions are not entirely new here. Much of what you will hear or experience, you’ve heard from Yorke before in one shape or another. What dos make the record work is that it’s up, it’s classic Yorke and it has a melodious tone. In other words, it’s not weird for the sake of weird. The songs flow like one large piece, yet they could work just as well as singles. “Traffic” has pieces that remind you of Yorke’s debut solo album while “Twist” has this new tracing of the past notes he’s created. Where “Dawn Chorus” has an ominous tone, it still has enough lift to hold your attention. “The Axe” has moments of spectral and haunting notes and “Not The News” can keep you glued in, the strongest track on the album is “Impossible Knots.” Yorke has a more relaxed feel here, giving you a solid foundation of groove that gets met with orchestral keys and Yorke singing in a higher register that feels organically composed, yet still in the universal feel in which his music is constructed. Anima is a lot in terms of arrangements and compositions, but ultimately it just sounds like Thom Yorke, and that’s a good thing when you get it.
Anima is available to stream on all streaming sites, it can be purchased in all digital outlets and it can be pre-ordered directly from XL Recordings ahead of its physical release on August 02. Thom Yorke will be on tour beginning July 04 in Montreux, Switzerland at Montreux Jazz Festival until October 30 in Los Angeles, CA at Greek Theatre. His complete tour schedule can be accessed here.
Image Credits: Photo by Alex Lake.