August 14, 2022

Thom Yorke makes experimental digital music as a solo artist, and Jonny Greenwood writes emotive classical movie scores as a composer. Put them collectively, nevertheless, and, irrespective of who else is within the room, you get Radiohead.

The Smile, the duo’s new venture, sees Yorke and Greenwood rounded out not by their standard bandmates, however by Sons of Kemet drummer Tom Skinner. Nonetheless, the group hits all of Radiohead’s principal marks, from nimble, arpeggiated guitar traces to swelling, doomsday-soundtracking orchestral items.

That’s to not say A Gentle for Attracting Consideration (out Friday, Might thirteenth) gives extra of the identical. The Smile’s debut album repackages Radiohead’s bag of tips — layered soundscapes to which Yorke bemoans the state of the world — into one thing cautiously optimistic, simply because the band’s winking identify implies.

Take opener “The Identical,” through which Yorke targets not ambivalent bystanders nor evil energy holders, however his fellow aggrieved residents caught in the course of the sport. “Any individual’s fallen down, any individual’s telling lies,” the singer notes, however means that “we don’t must battle/ Look towards the sunshine.” Insistent synthesizer notes beep one after the other as Yorke pleads together with his viewers. “Individuals within the streets, please/ All of us need the identical,” he croons. On its face, The Smile’s opening greeting begs for peace, however its messengers, after all, require an ominous supply.

Naturally, after “The Identical” comes “The Reverse,” a monitor that grounds the album’s otherworldly starting with traditional, human instrumentation. A fast-and-tight drum beat units the stage for disjointed, staccato guitar, although as soon as Greenwood’s melodies begin swirling, all of it will get a little bit blurry. Fortuitously, Skinner, a jazz veteran, retains the beat.

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