Thom Yorke does just about anything and the world’s gonna pay attention. Radiohead is the world’s only headliner that isn’t simultaneously the fucking worst. Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, Thom Yorke’s first solo album in eight years, drops on an “experimental BitTorrent distribution model” today and the Internet (myself included) leapt to action like the good minions we are. Headlines like “Thom Yorke has a new solo album!”, “Radiohead Front man Important,” “Tomorrow’s Modern Masterpiece: 12.9 Stars” littered my newsfeed this morning. 


This album serves as a fine stopgap between Radiohead albums. We know the boys are in the studio working on their ninth album so in the interim, anything will do. Sadly, this effort isn’t the hottest one that the Radiohead boys have ever given us. Truth is, that even though Thom has been experimenting with electronic music for over a decade now, he’s still an amateur. While his peers are some of the best in the game (Caribou, Modeselektor, Jamie XX) this album comes off as a shallow attempt at copying their work. Even though he is influenced by some of the best in the game, he can’t seem to understand what makes their music all so uniquely special, and his so… flat.  Thommy boy always does so much better when he’s working with his best bros. Whether it’s Johnny Greenwood’s incredibly lush composition or Nigel Godrich’s stunning production, Thom seems unable to kill it in the same way when he strives out on his own.

It’s not bad or anything. I mean, it’s still Thom Yorke! That crooked brain will always be filled with the more interesting ideas than 90% of society. While not quite as filled out as everything he’s released before, Thom’s Midas touch fingerprints are still all over it. Plus, it’s the only album we’re getting this year that’s backed by his signature haunting croon. And I know I could listen to that voice without backing tracks for hours and hours on end (sure I’d have to be super faded, but is there anything wrong with that?). It’s slow, and patient and beautiful like the mark of any good Thom Yorke track. It’s even quite danceable in a shoe-gazey post-electronic Radiohead-y kind of way. With a little more guidance and a lot more work and this album could have really something special.  

“Guess Again” is the standout track on the album. To me, it stands alongside much of Thom’s more heralded work. It’s minimal beat, and programmed drum flutters swaddle Thom’s vocal hooks through a quiet electronic lullaby.  This better be a staple in his DJ sets for the next three or four years.  Cause that’s what it all is for, right?  



About Kurt Kroeber

From deep within the murky depths of the Los Angeles River emerged a creature: 50% raver, 50% comedian, 10% Robotcop. Kurt Kroeber doesn’t own a dog, operates Soundbleed (the world’s only dance party comedy talk show rave), and is down to party with you. Come up some time and say “Hey dude!” But definitely make sure to casually drop the secret Illuminati password.