Album Review: Atoms For Peace, “AMOK”

(XL Recordings)
Available now
Rating: ★½ (out of four)

“AMOK” came together when Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea and R.E.M.’s Joey Waronker holed up in a studio with percussionist Maura Refusco. There, they listened to Fela Kuti and jammed for hours on end.

Later, Yorke and producer Nigel Godrich pulled the sessions apart and weaved them back together using the original live takes as well as electronic additions.

The result is what you might have in your head: jazzy and afrobeat jams. They’re all interesting tracks that do interesting things — opening track “Before Your Very Eyes,” for example, slowly but surely replaces all the actual instruments with electronic noise until it sounds more Daft Punk than Deerhoof.

If you like rhythm, this will keep you bopping. Flea creates some amazing grooves, especially on “Stuck Together Pieces,” and Waronker and Refusco compliment with popping, interacting rhythms.

In the end, you get interesting tracks that do some neat things, but “interesting” doesn’t translate to “good.” There’s some listenable stuff here, but the album has more fodder for DJs and producers from which to borrow sounds and beats than for most people to throw on the iPod or stereo for a good jam.

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