Boomkat Product Review:
Thom Yorke yields his most enjoyable solo record yet with ‘Anima’, shapeshifting back into avant-pop mode after last year’s OST for the remake of cult horror ‘Suspiria’.
Bridging experimental pop songwriting and electronic dance music dimensions, Yorke and his trusty studio partner Nigel Godrich yet again sneak classy contemporary rhythms and ideas into the diet of traditional songwriting. The nine songs of ‘Anima’ also find Yorke porous to a modern Afro-Latinate phase shift, embracing slinky permutations of dembow tresillo patterns and needle-point electroid 2-step in an ever finer balance of melodic conventions and the inexorable thrills of electronic music. Most crucially, acknowledging those rhythmic accents that come from beyond mostly white, western rhythmic hegemony.
That slinky drive and flow gives the album an effortless appeal, carrying it from the pendulous, schizoid vocals of ‘Traffic’, thru the writhing ‘Twist’, before catching Yorke at his most endearingly scuffed, bluesy and soulful with ‘I Am A Very Rude Person.’ The halfway point is marked by a real future classic in his catalogue with ‘Not The News’ laying a fine seam of Autechrian reggaeton and phasing riffs for some of his patented, dramatic flourishes, while the in-the-pocket shuffle of ‘Impossible Knots’ highlights a canny link with Scritti Politti’s early ‘80s balance of post-punk and new pop, before ‘Runwayaway’ feels pulled between psychy Tuareg desert blues, krautrock, lilting eldritch folk and AFXian acid in a way that perhaps only Yorke could nail quite like this.
'Dawn Chorus', perhaps the album's centrepoint, places the vocal high and up front in the mix for an open encounter with the sublime. There's nothing really to it - like all the best songs.