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A Magazine for Sheffield

Thom Yorke ANIMA


The Radiohead frontman's electronic solo career comes to a pinnacle with ANIMA, an exploration of Yorke's usual vices: dreams, paranoia and public transport.

Yorke is arguably at the peak of his artistic journey, with a triumphant late-career rally under his belt in Radiohead's gorgeous and mournful A Moon Shaped Pool and last year's ambitious score to Luca Guadagnino's Suspiria. One might have expected him to succumb to self-indulgence or egocentric excess at this point, especially considering ANIMA's marketing roll-out, which included a conceptual conceit, with mysterious subway advertising and an accompanying short film made by Paul Thomas Anderson.

enough left turns to avoid monotony

But with ANIMA, Yorke demonstrates the grace to strip his beats down a little and not overcrowd a record about claustrophobia. With blissfully long run-times, each of its nine tracks feels patient and immersive, allowing the listener to connect the dots themselves over its 47 minutes.

Yet there's also enough left turns to avoid monotony, like a creepy choir of children in the second half of 'Twist' which recalls a 2007 In Rainbows sample, or an unexpected and grandiose strings entrance halfway through 'Not The News' that somehow doesn't clash with the computerised environment around it.

Although the highlight of ANIMA is certainly its digital texture, to say nothing of Yorke's lyrical work here would be a disservice, as he hands in some of his wittiest and most layered lines to date. "Goddamn machinery / Why don't you speak to me? / One day I am gonna take an axe to it", he intones menacingly on 'The Axe', sensing the irony in making art out of the technology that continues to betray us. Long-time producer Nigel Godrich smooths the record out beautifully. It's best heard in full.

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