New Music: Thom Yorke
By Jason Herring, October 9 2014 —
With three years passing since the release of Radiohead’s 2011 album The King of Limbs, new music from the band has become more and more coveted.
Though it’s not a Radiohead album, fans of the band got the next best thing on Sept. 26 when frontman Thom Yorke released Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, unannounced and with little fanfare. Available through a partnership with peer–to–peer file sharing client BitTorrent, the album finds Yorke delving further into his exploration of electronic music.
As with Yorke’s recent releases, there’s hardly a guitar to be heard on the album. Instead, the record is punctuated by staggered
drum-machine beats that serve as a backdrop to Yorke’s crooning. This style is particularly effective on the album’s highlight, “Truth Ray,” a haunting ballad that runs on an uneven and tentative beat. Yorke’s vocals lend the song a nervous atmosphere and the lyrics are the album’s most beautiful.
The lead single, “A Brain in a Bottle,” features the album’s best beat and the most melodic vocal track while “Guess Again!” feels like it would fit on a Radiohead LP.
Unfortunately, the rest of the album smudges together as the formula as the songs repeat the same formula over and over again. Longer songs such as “There Is No Ice (For My Drink)” outstay their welcome, and the beats start to become annoying instead of entrancing.
Despite its slim, half–hour runtime, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes feels a bit too long and a bit too empty. Though there are glimpses of brilliance, the album serves as a hollow distraction for fans awaiting the release of Radiohead’s ninth album.