Showing posts with label atoms for peace. Show all posts
Showing posts with label atoms for peace. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

album review: 'amok' by atoms for peace (RETRO REVIEW)

As a music critic, you always end up missing albums.

Yeah, even the guys who listen to a new album every single day are going to miss a few that are outside of their preferred genre or were dismissed out of hand as being crap. Now if you're familiar with any of my reviews, I like to give everything a reasonably fair shake, but as someone with a full-time job and an active social life, I still don't have time to get through everything.

And that means, like most music critics in the middle of the summer, I took a bit of time in this brief lull to start locating the albums in my backlog that I should cover before the end of the year. Sure, I'm not going to find everything, but it can't hurt to go through the seven or eight albums with positive critical press I inevitably missed (either coming out before I started my reviews, or were put aside in favour of albums I actually had an interest in or wanted to rant about).  

And completely unsurprisingly, most of these albums that I'll be talking about over the next while (with the exception of the new releases, obviously) are going to be the critically acclaimed material that Pitchfork and the majority of the entertainment press have slobbered all over. And those of you who have been following my work know that I tend to be significantly tougher on indie rock than most - something I also won't apologize for in any way. If these are going to be the acts that might dictate the paradigm in independent music, you bet I'm going to be scrutinizing them with a critical eye. After all, if you want to be on the cutting edge, you have to earn it.

So with that in mind, let's talk about the debut album of Atoms For Peace, a collaboration act featuring Thom Yorke of Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, Joey Waronker (who worked with Beck and R.E.M.) and longtime Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich. From that line-up alone, one can have high expectations - that's the sort of superstar tag team you'd expect to be introduced by its own theme music! And while I'm most definitely not the biggest Radiohead fan (a conversation for later), it's hard not to look at the rest of this act with a fair amount of awe and wonder.

But then the part of my brain that leaps up whenever I get excited about new prospects made sure to say, 'Now hang on a minute, you remember what happened with Angels and Airwaves, and even though Audioslave was a relative success, it was nowhere near close to the sum of its parts.' And really, outside of Ayreon (which owes its success to the excellent coordination of Arjen Lucassen, and even he doesn't always get it right), there really hasn't been a collaboration effort that I can think of immediately that hasn't been either overshadowed by one member or significantly less than its potential. And given some of my distaste for Thom Yorke, I wasn't entirely sure I was going to enjoy the album, with the very un-Radiohead-esque name Amok. Did that opinion last?

Youtube review after the jump