Thom Yorke ANIMA XL Recordings
Thom Yorke’s solid second solo album has been overshadowed by the arrival of 18 hours of vintage Radiohead demos, which the band opted to give away after a hacker attempted to hold them to ransom. The proceeds from MINIDISCS [HACKED] are going to climate activists Extinction Rebellion, a gesture that nods to the ongoing preoccupations of their ponderous frontman. Yorke recently told Crack Magazine he’d been writing songs about his anxiety, finding twisted inspiration in his jetlagged visions (“Humans and rats changed places,” he remembered darkly) and dystopian environments.
So far, so Thom Yorke – and ANIMA will be thematically and musically familiar to any Radiohead fan. There’s Twist, with its waterlogged piano traversing awkward cadences; a Gloaming-ish groove on Traffic. Glitches cut into Last I Heard (He Was Circling the Drain) as multiple Thoms shiver at the memory of an anxiety attack: “I woke up with a feeling I just could not take”. But compared to the prickly froideur of 2014’s Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, Yorke sounds relatively upbeat. Check the dubby groove of Impossible Knots and the almost club-ready Not the News, which cracks into widescreen glory as he looks down at his “dancing feet”. Yorke is in his safe space here: it’s a more songwriterly and satisfying record than its predecessor, but there’s nothing radically new on offer, either.