There’s a kind of anxious immediacy that bleeds through every song on Anima, Thom Yorke’s latest solo album. Normally this would signal a lack of cohesion or at the very least an uneven listening experience, but somehow Yorke manages to pack all his troubles in his old kit bag and smile, giving us his strongest solo album to date.
The whirring, pulsating, beats of “Traffic” welcomes us to the machine and sends us on an unfamiliar, yet still somehow comforting ride through Yorke’s psyche.
Like his previous two solo efforts, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes and The Eraser, we’re reminded that Yorke’s solo work is far more contradictory than what he creates in Radiohead. It’s both enigmatic and confessional. Accusatory and self-effacing. This may not ever be more evident than in “Dawn Chorus”, a kind of ambient spoken-word piece that will stand tall as some of the best work of Yorke’s entire career.
All the best (see: cliched) musician press release sound bytes will often speak of a “journey” that the artist takes to create an album, but it’s extremely rare that the album in question actually feels as such. But here on Anima, the journey is on full display and by the time we arrive at the “destination” of the final strains of Runawayaway, the deus ex machina we would normally expect at the end just doesn’t exist and all you have left is an unknowing silence until the deep plunge of Anima is taken all over again.
9.0 / 10
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