Thom Yorke surprised fans and critics alike by releasing his second solo album, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes without advance warning. Leaving aside the ‘controversy’ over the delivery mechanism of this album (BitTorrent), the music contained within will seem familiar enough to anybody who has followed Yorke/Radiohead’s recent music trajectory. In other words, jittery electronica, not too far removed from The King of Limbs, tracks like opener A Brain In A Bottle and the endless The Mother Lode adhering zealously to this template.
Light touches here and there prevent this album from electrudgica, the twitchy plod of Guess Again! is sweetened somewhat by a simple piano line. Things take a turn for the better on the brief synth ballad Inteference, whose uncluttered arrangement allows Yorke’s vocal to really shine.
Unfortunately it proves the exception, Truth Ray is standard-issue Yorke where NOTHING happens for a long, drifting five minutes. There Is No Ice (For My Drink) at least contains some cool weird noises over seven minutes of neither song nor instrumental, while the only recognisable instrument on Pink Section is a warped-out-of-it piano. And if you work with Nose Grows Some enough it will resolve itself into something approaching a melodic song.
It feels unfinished and a little rushed, more Kid C minus (must try harder) than Kid A. Will probably be one to file alongside King of Limbs rather than Amnesiac.
1. A Brain In A Bottle
2. Guess Again!
4. The Mother Lode
5. Truth Ray
6. There Is No Ice (For My Drink)
7. Pink Section
8. Nose Grows Some