Amok (Atoms for Peace album)

Amok is the debut album by the supergroup Atoms for Peace, released on February 25, 2013 by XL Recordings. It features Radiohead singer Thom Yorke (vocals, keyboards, programming and guitars), Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich (production and programming), Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, drummer Joey Waronker and percussionist Mauro Refosco. It combines electronic and live instrumentation.

Amok
Atomsforamok.png
Studio album by
ReleasedFebruary 25, 2013 (2013-02-25)
Recorded2010–2012
Genre
Length44:35
LabelXL
ProducerNigel Godrich
Singles from Amok
  1. "Default[2]"
    Released: September 10, 2012
  2. "Ingenue[3]"
    Released: February 25, 2013
  3. "Judge, Jury and Executioner[4]"
    Released: March 11, 2013
  4. "Before Your Very Eyes...[5]"
    Released: July 1, 2013

Yorke formed Atoms for Peace in 2009 to perform songs from his first solo album, The Eraser (2006). After the tour ended, the band spent three days jamming and recording original material in a Los Angeles studio. Yorke and Godrich edited and arranged the recordings over two years, combining them with Yorke's electronic music.

Four Amok singles were released: "Default", "Ingenue", "Judge, Jury and Executioner" and "Before Your Very Eyes...", with music videos for "Ingenue" and "Before Your Very Eyes...". The album received generally favourable reviews and reached the top ten in several countries, including the UK, US, and Japan. It was followed by an international tour.

Background and recordingEdit

 
Godrich (left), Waronker (centre) and Flea (right) performing with Atoms for Peace in 2013

Thom Yorke formed Atoms for Peace in 2009 to perform songs from his first solo album, The Eraser (2006). After the tour ended in 2010, the band spent three days jamming and recording original material in a Los Angeles studio. The members bonded over a shared love of afrobeat, such as the music of Fela Kuti.[6]

Describing his role in the sessions as "conducting", Yorke would show the band electronic music he had created and they would recreate it with live instruments. He said: "The music I do on my laptop is so angular. When you get people to play like that, it's so peculiar ... One of the things we were most excited about was ending up with a record where you weren't quite sure where the human starts and the machine ends."[6] Yorke and producer Nigel Godrich edited and arranged the recordings over two years, combining them with Yorke's electronic music.[6]

Promotion and releaseEdit

Amok was released on February 25, 2013 by XL Recordings.[7] The first single, "Default", was released as a download on September 10, 2012.[2] "Judge, Jury and Executioner", was released as a download on January 7, 2013 and on vinyl on March 19, 2013.[4] "Before Your Very Eyes..." was released as the third single on July 1, 2013.[5] On February 18, 2013, Amok was made available to stream from the Atoms for Peace website.[8]

A music video for "Ingenue" was released via YouTube on February 28, 2013. It was directed by Garth Jennings and choreographed by Wayne McGregor, who both had worked with Yorke on the video for the 2011 Radiohead song "Lotus Flower".[9] On October 17, a video for "Before Your Very Eyes..." was released, directed by Andrew Thomas Huang.[10] Amok was followed by a tour of Europe, the US and Japan.[11]

SalesEdit

Amok reached the top ten in several countries, including the UK, US, and Japan. In the US, it was beaten to the number-one spot by Bruno Mars's album Unorthodox Jukebox. Yorke blamed an Amazon promotion selling the Mars album for $1.99, and said: "Amazon fucks with us every time. They undercut us."[12]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?7.1/10[13]
Metacritic76/100[14]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [15]
The A.V. ClubA−[16]
Entertainment WeeklyB[17]
The Guardian     [18]
The Independent     [19]
Los Angeles Times    [20]
NME8/10[21]
Pitchfork6.9/10[22]
Rolling Stone     [23]
Spin6/10[24]

Amok has a score of 76 out of 100 on review aggregate site Metacritic, indicating "generally favourable reviews".[14] Alexis Petridis of The Guardian wrote that Amok was technically "hugely impressive ... its sound is rich and deep, full of intriguing shifts and contrasts ... When Amok works, the results are spectacular." However, he felt "the painstaking process used to create it may have assumed a greater importance than the business of actually writing songs".[18]

Several critics felt Amok resembled Yorke's solo work. Sputnikmusic found that though it "rarely escapes sounding like a solo record from the Radiohead frontman ... It's quite likely that the average listener might find something to enjoy within the dense, layered folds of Amok."[25] Slant wrote: "With such richly diverse membership, it's disappointing that Atoms for Peace is so highly derivative of Yorke and Godrich's recent work ... the result is essentially a collection of agile, minimalist rock songs with a handful of interesting but ultimately superficial electronica flourishes."[26] Pitchfork wrote that while Amok "is certainly a more colourful, layered work than The Eraser ... [it] feels strangely static and contained, giving a perpetual sense of jogging in place".[22]

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by Atoms for Peace.

No.TitleLength
1."Before Your Very Eyes..."5:47
2."Default"5:15
3."Ingenue"4:30
4."Dropped"4:57
5."Unless"4:40
6."Stuck Together Pieces"5:28
7."Judge, Jury and Executioner"3:28
8."Reverse Running"5:06
9."Amok"5:24
Total length:44:35

PersonnelEdit

Chart positionsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Wright, Dusty (22 March 2013). "Best of March Music -- Rock, Country & Jazz". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  2. ^ a b Pelly, Jenn (26 September 2012). "Thom Yorke's Atoms for Peace Detail Vinyl Release of Debut Single". Pitchfork. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  3. ^ "Atoms For Peace:Ingenue". GIZMODO. 7 March 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
  4. ^ a b Battan, Carrie and Amy Phillips. "Listen/Watch: New Single From Thom Yorke's Atoms for Peace: "Judge Jury and Executioner"". Retrieved 27 February 2013.
  5. ^ a b ""Before Your Very Eyes..." single on Atoms for Peace official website". Archived from the original on 20 October 2013. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  6. ^ a b c Fricke, David (5 November 2012). "Q&A: Thom Yorke on Atoms for Peace's "mechanistic" new album". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 27 June 2014. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
  7. ^ "Atoms for Peace Pick Release Date for Debut Album". Rolling Stone. 5 November 2012. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  8. ^ "Stream the Atoms for Peace Album AMOK Now". Pitchfork Media. 18 February 2013. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
  9. ^ Snapes, Laura (28 February 2013). "Watch Thom Yorke Dance in Atoms for Peace's Video for "Ingenue"". Pitchfork. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  10. ^ Philips, Amy (17 October 2013). "Video: Atoms for Peace: "Before Your Very Eyes"". Pitchfork. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  11. ^ "Atoms for Peace Announce U.S. and Japanese Dates". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on 12 November 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  12. ^ "Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich Go Off on the State of Electronic Music, Bruno Mars, Amazon, More | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  13. ^ "Amok by Atoms for Peace reviews". AnyDecentMusic?. Retrieved 30 December 2019.
  14. ^ a b "Reviews for Amok by Atoms for Peace". Metacritic. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  15. ^ Kellman, Andy. "Amok – Atoms for Peace". AllMusic. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  16. ^ Modell, Josh (26 February 2013). "Atoms For Peace: AMOK". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  17. ^ Anderson, Kyle (20 March 2013). "Atoms For Peace". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  18. ^ a b Petridis, Alexis (21 February 2013). "Atoms for Peace: Amok – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  19. ^ Price, Simon (24 February 2013). "Album: Atoms for Peace, Amok (XL)". The Independent. Archived from the original on 27 February 2013. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  20. ^ Roberts, Randall (25 February 2013). "Pop album review: Atoms for Peace's 'Amok' a magnetic ride". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  21. ^ Martin, Dan (21 February 2013). "Atoms For Peace – 'Amok'". NME. Archived from the original on 28 February 2013. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  22. ^ a b Berman, Stuart (25 February 2013). "Atoms for Peace: AMOK". Pitchfork. Retrieved 25 February 2013.
  23. ^ Vozick-Levinson, Simon (18 February 2013). "Amok". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 27 February 2013.
  24. ^ Powell, Mike (25 February 2013). "Atoms for Peace, 'Amok' (XL)". Spin. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  25. ^ Tan, Irving (21 February 2013). "Album Review - Atoms for Peace: Amok". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  26. ^ Liedel, Kevin (22 February 2013). "Review: Atoms for Peace, Amok". Slant. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
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External linksEdit