Thom Yorke's 'Confidenza' Score Is a Welcome Consolation for Radiohead Fans

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BY Alex HudsonPublished Apr 30, 2024

Despite drummer Phil Selway's periodic reassurances, my personal theory is that Radiohead are done for good. This isn't based on any insider knowledge — just the impression I get from how content Thom Yorke seems to be doing side-projects these days.

His Confidenza score is his fifth full-length since Radiohead last released an album, a run that has included his two best non-Radiohead albums: 2019's solo LP ANIMA and the Smile's 2022 debut A Light for Attracting Attention.

Any Yorke side-project is bound to be lower profile than his main gig — but even by those standards, Confidenza is fairly low-stakes. It's mostly instrumental, with only the "Auld Lang Syne"-esque keyboard lullaby "Knife Edge" and the grand orchestral ballad "Four Ways in Time" being somewhat typical Yorke songs. His previous soundtrack, 2018's Suspiria, by contrast included several songs with vocals and more closely resembled what Radiohead fans probably expect from an album.

This time around, Yorke makes use of both the London Contemporary Orchestra and a jazz ensemble (the latter featuring the Smile's Tom Skinner) to create eerie soundscapes — like the bizarre time signatures of skronky jazz numbers "Prize Giving" and "On the Ledge," and the creepy-crawly string abstractions of title cut. Still more tracks are minute-long sound cues that doubtless make more sense in a film than they do as album tracks.

Confidenza isn't the next Radiohead album; it's not even the new Suspiria. But it is welcome consolation for fans that, as long as Radiohead remains dormant (even if that's permanently), Yorke will continue to make compelling music worth listening to.

(XL Recordings)

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