Exclaim!'s Best of 2013: Top 20 Pop & Rock Albums, Part One



19. Atoms for Peace
AMOK
(XL)

When it became apparent that Thom Yorke was teaming up with Flea from the Chili Peppers, Joey Waronker (Beck and R.E.M.'s drummer), producer Nigel Godrich, and Brazilian percussionist Mauro Refosco, it seemed like another expensive pie crammed with too many contrasting ingredients. Who knew it would actually turn out so palatable?

Aside from being consistently solid throughout, Flea reminds us just how melodic he can be when he keeps that overzealous thumb in check. His prowess shines through on Amok, in a poignantly subdued way on "Stuck Together Pieces" and as the driving force on "Dropped." With that solid foundation to build on, Thom Yorke then takes the nervous, scattered rhythms of his 2006 solo album, The Eraser, and hands them over to Waronker and Refosco, who add all the percussionist beef that was previously missing. Then, with beef, bass, and harrowing vocals all lined up, Godrich dovetails all the elements and just makes everything sound beautiful.

More than just a stab at making electronic music sound organic, Amok is a fluid waltz through the varying styles of each band member, with rock and electronica weaving in and out of the crowd seamlessly. Listening to single "Default" and you can hear the influence of each individual, who all come from easily classifiable backgrounds, yet the song itself belongs to no specific genre. This trick is repeated throughout Amok, to great success; the synergy of varying musicians has culminated into this intriguing grey area. (Daryl Keating)