Album: Atoms for Peace, Amok (XL)
Sunday 24 February 2013
AFP is the supergroup formed by Radiohead's Thom Yorke, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, producer Nigel Godrich, drummer-for-hire Joey Waronker and Brazilian percussionist Mauro Refosco. If you're still reading, I salute you, but despite that terrifying opening sentence, Amok is not an unpleasant listen.
The project began, so the story goes, when they all got drunk at Flea's house, played pool and listened to Fela Kuti. Some of that relaxed looseness has survived into Amok, which may be the least self-conscious, least constipated thing Yorke has been involved in for more than a decade.
Yorke's lyrics, consisting mainly of repeated aphorisms and clichés ("A penny for your thoughts", "I've made my bed, I'll lie in it"), don't suggest any great depth, but then – whisper it – they often don't. But the sounds, bringing in elements of tropicalia, Afro-funk and laptronica, with glitches, rainforest sounds and superb analogue-synth squelches (if anyone steals the show here, it's Godrich), mean you hardly notice.
It's the sort of thing you can imagine coming out on the New York-based Ze Records circa 1982. And if some of this spirit crops up in whatever Radiohead do next, it can't be a bad thing.
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