Thom Yorke, Flea join in epic genre-bending supergroup, release AMOK

By Ben Cowlishaw
Staff Writer

The swaggering groove of Flea has met with the eccentric twitch of Thom Yorke in what has fulfilled its potential as one of the greatest supergroups of the decade: Atoms For Peace.

The group formed in 2009 to tour and perform Radiohead front man Thom Yorke’s 2006 solo album, The Eraser. Accompanying Yorke and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ bassist Flea in Atoms For Peace, which is named after an Eraser track, is longtime Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, percussionist Joey Waronker of Beck and R.E.M., and Brazilian musician Mauro Refosco.

Tuesday, Atoms For Peace’s debut album AMOK was released through XL Recordings. It so impossibly yet seamlessly blends each of these legendary musician’s playing and recording styles together, AMOK cannot be simply defined as belonging within the realm of a single genre, unless alternative-indie-electronica-experimental rock is a genre; in that case, I stand corrected.

In the midst of the anticipation of Atoms For Peace’s debut album, there was a lot of mixed concern in the professional critic as well as occasional listener community that Flea’s famous style would be overshadowed and underutilized in the bleeps, blips and blops Yorke and Godrich are famous for; i.e., AMOK was really just a follow up to Radiohead’s 2011 The King Of Limbs featuring Yorke’s ideas that Radiohead couldn’t or wouldn’t bring to fruition.

Instead, the generally favorable reception of AMOK has been of delight and pleasure in the intense blending of many different textures that each part of Atoms For Peace brought to the studio.

The first single from Amok, “Default,” accurately foretold what was to come without spoiling the rest of AMOK, with a wicked rolling percussion track layered with keyboards synthesizers under Yorke’s clean voice.

The day of its release, AMOK is the second-highest selling album on iTunes, with an average user rating of four and a half stars. AMOK is a highly unique, exciting and intriguing record that continues to surprise me more and more with each listen.

AMOK makes you want to groove, dance, and above all, think. It belongs in its own genre, its own category, and certainly earned its own Grammy.

AMOK is available on iTunes.