Though 2018 saw the release of Suspiria - Thom Yorke’s soundtrack for Luca Guadagnino’s film of the same name - the Radiohead frontman hasn’t dropped a studio LP since 2014’s Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes. Anticipation will always be high for a Thom Yorke solo album, but the five-year gap between Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes and ANIMA makes the arrival of this record even more pleasing.
ANIMA finds Yorke further developing the electro-balladeer sound he has been working with ever since his first solo full-length (2006’s The Eraser). Quite a few of the tracks here skip along on thick synth basslines and programmed drums, often gathering momentum as Yorke layers up sounds and vocals over the course of several minutes. Yorke’s erstwhile collaborators Modeselektor are frequently brought to mind, likewise the more song-orientated strain of post-dubstep that Radiohead were working with on 2011’s The King Of Limbs. Listen closely and you might even hear a little 2-step in the beats.
As is usually the case with Yorke’s solo material, his ethereal singing remains the fragile membrane that encases his music. No matter how many times you’ve heard Yorke’s spectral falsetto before it’s never enough to stop it from flooring you every time he steps up to the microphone. When Yorke piles on the harmonies, often washing them out with reverb, the results are as stunning as ever.
There are a number of versions of ANIMA available. These range from a CD to a deluxe double-LP edition that comes replete with a 40-page book of lyrics and drawings. All vinyl editions of ANIMA include ‘(Ladies And Gentlemen, Thank You For Coming)’, a track that doesn’t make it onto the album’s standard edition.
Thom Yorke’s latest solo LP ANIMA is a beautiful thing - let’s face it, it was never going to be anything less.
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