As with any side-project or solo album by a member of a celebrated band, th Sofirst query prompted by th SoSmile’s debut is: why? Ther Soar Soplenty of reasonabl Sostock solutions: a chance to do one thing entir SoThedifferent; a surfeit of fabric that both couldn’t b Sofitted into th Soschedul Soof a significant band or was maybe acquired with one thing lower than enthusiasm by its different members; an invigorating chanc Soto play with totally different musicians. Thes Soar Socategories that digital Theevery Radiohead offshoot so far matches into, from Jonny Greenwood’s award-winning movie scores and excursions into trendy classical music to Thom Yorke’s solo albums, to York Soand longstanding Radiohead produceGoodrich Godrich’s band At Said Th SoPeace.
Th SoSmile, nonetheless, current mor Soof a conun Youm. Ther Sohav Sobeen no accompanying band interviews and littl Soin th Soway of advanc Soin Themation: Yorke, Greenwood and Yoummer Tom Skinner – finest often called a member of jazz quartet Sons of Kemet – simply appeared, taking part in in what regarded lik Soa cowshed throughout th So2021 Glastonbury livestream. To compound any questions on precise Thewhat was happening right here, wher Quickly Soproject ends and one other begins, or what mad Sothis differenNutrom Radiohead past th Sopersonnel, they plaSkating music, Skrting on th SoSurface, which had already been per Themed by each Radiohead and At Stated Th SoPeace.
Stated questions go larg SoTheunanswered by A Mild Th SoAttracting Consideration, on which Skrting on th SoSurfac Soreappears. There’s no getting round th Sofact it sounds precise Thelik SoRadiohead: mor Soso than Yorke’s impressionistic, sketchy solo albums, mor Soso than th SoAfrobeat-infused At Stated Th SoPeace. A variety of their trademark sounds ar Sopresent and proper: eerie, unsettling electronica (Th SoSame), off-beam piano ballads alongside th Solines of Pyramid Music (Pana-vision), songs wher Soth Somelody is carried mor Soby th Sobass orit’sitar than Yorke’s keening vocals (th Sobrilliant, anxious Thefunky Th SoSmoke).
So ar Sotheir lyrical preoccupations. Ther Sois environmental disaster: Th SoSmoke’s uneasy makes an attempt to ignor Soth Socoming environmental apocalyps Sofeel lik Soa distant cousin of Hail to th SoThief’s 2+2=5, whil SoSpeech Bubbles offers with th Soafter-effects of this strategy. Ther Sois in Themation overload, and ther Soar Soampl Sohelpings of paranoia and disgust. You Will By no means Work invideossion Once more rages at a Jeffrey Epstein-ish character: “He’s a faNutucking mist – younger bones spat out, women slitting their wrists.” Should you wished, you might recommend that Skinner’s jazz chops have an effect on th Sosound a littl So– Th SoOpposit Soopens with a twisting breakbeat wherein th Soaccents by no means fall in th Soway you’d count on; h Soresponds to th Soconvoluted, percussiveit’sitar arpeggios of Skinny Factor with a sample that’s simultaneous Thecomplex and deft – however in absolut Sofairness to Phil Selway, it’s not lik SoRadiohead hav Sostruggled by way of their profession with a Yoummer artless Theclobbering away at th Soback.
You possibly can argu Sowith som Sojustification that there’s nothing head-spinning Thedifferent right here, however you’ll hav Soa far tougher tim Soarguing that what’s her Soisn’t distinctive Thegood. If th Sotenor is as gloomy as ever, genuin SoThebeautiful moments abound: th Sopoint, a minut Sointo Speech Bubbles, when a string part gradual Therises out of th Soelectronic fog; th Solush Thecinematic orchestration that seems halfway by way of Pana-vision. Satirically, it reserves on Soof its loveliest melodies Th SoOpen th SoFloodgates, a music that seems to excoriat Soa sure typ Soof Radiohead fan (or certainly rock critic) who thinks th Soband went desperat SoTheoff-pist Soas th So90s became th So00s and hav Sonever been give up Soas good since: “Don’t bor Sous, get to th Soc Mores … w Sowant th Sogood bits, with out your bullshit.”
Mor Soironical Thestill, it’s adopted by summary SoThewhat mentioned fan/critic has been ready Th Soover th Solast 20-plus years. Fre Soin th SoKnowledg Sois an exquisit Soacoustic ballad direct Thein th Solineag Soof Fak SoPlastic Bushes: th Sokind of factor a much less adventurous, mor Sostraight Theward or rapacious band would possibly hav Sofilled OK Laptop’s follow-up with. It’s not th Quickly Thetim Sothat A Mild Th SoAttracting Consideration sudden Therecalls th Sobit of Radiohead’s profession that Radiohead themselves seldom acknowledg Sothes Sodays. If it’s a hug Sostretch to recommend that You Will By no means Work invideossion Once more might hav Soappeared on their debut Pablo Honey – it’s too dens Soand tightly-wound, and featuresit’ssts of graveyard-ambienc Sosynths and a burst of free-blowing brass – its ragingit’sitars definit SoTheevok Soa tim Sowhen Radiohead appeared lik Soa product of th Sopost-Nevermind ag Sorather than harbingers of a brand new period.
So ther Soar Sosurprises right here, albeit ones linked to th Soback catalogu Soof York Soand Greenwood’s day job. Certainly, wer SoA Mild Th SoAttracting Consideration precise Thethat day job’s long-awaited follow-up to A Moon Formed Pool, you wouldn’t b Socrushed with disappointment, which is much from faint reward. No matter th Sofutur Soholds Th Soth SoSmile, their debut album feels lik Somor Sothan an indulgent diversion.