"Atoms For Peace; Photo:N/A"When a super group like Atoms for Peace (Thom Yorke, Flea, Nigel Godrich, Mauro Refosco and Joey Waronker) forms it’s a concern as to whether or not there will be an equal exchange of ideas or if one lone leader will emerge and completely monopolize the creative direction. The process, whether meticulously orchestrated or organic, starts with synergy. Yorke’s explanation for theirs: getting wasted, playing pool and listening to Fela Kuti all night. The melding of IDM and afrobeat, underscored by a polyrhythmic backdrop, is a slight departure for Yorke, but his lyrics still manage to hold his oft cryptic disposition. He’s not as much a frontman as he is one voice in a conscious collective. Here are five lyrics that fuse these rock demigods into one cohesive unit.

Default

Default; Photo:N/AThrough a complex layering of electronic and organic percussion – a rapid crossfire of blips, glitches, and snaps – Atoms for Peace create a vast, yet ubiquitous dreamscape. Yorke’s phlegmatic voice, sails through at a leisurely pace, allowing the Radiohead frontman to attack some of mankind’s most fundamental flaws: “The will is strong, but the flesh is weak,” he warbles. It’s a bit of a cliche to toss something as obvious as that out there, but throughout the album, and here especially, he forgoes the headiness of his lyrics for a more understated dialogue: [LISTEN]

I’ve gotta stop
The will is strong
But the flesh is weak

Dropped

Dropped; Photo:N/AWhile engaging in an epic battle against apathy it might be a little difficult to maintain a “healthy” relationship. Here, Yorke is taking time out of that fight to acknowledge the collateral damage of such an undertaking. He agonizes over a lost love, which has left him completely disheveled. It’s fairly ambiguous as to who he’s lamenting over,  whether it was platonic or otherwise, and it works well for him as it openly extends his cryptic message to anyone willing to listen: [LISTEN]

When I got your heart
I got your heart
it slipped down
Out of my hands

Stuck Together Pieces

Stuck Together Pieces; Photo:N/ACiting beer, pool, and Fela Kuti as driving influences behind this project, Thom Yorke and company have all the ingredients for a well crafted IDM ethos. Right from the jump you can here the afrobeat influence, both in the bassline and percussion, and Yorke works in concert with the groove, never wavering from the cohesive dialogue taking place. Lyrically he opens his book for a scathing admission – that the person he shares a fickle relationship with will never get to that special homemade void he’s crafted for himself, the source of his creativity: [LISTEN]

You can have anything that you want
Except the thing you really want
Go back to where you came from

Judge, Jury and Executioner

Judge, Jury and Executioner; Photo: N/A

Darkness seems to descend on the mind in very elusive ways. It’s like trying to remember falling asleep – you can’t, you’re just in the thick of it. Here, over a sparse combination of earthy percussion, acoustic riffing, and spectral moans, Yorke’s voice descends upon the subconscious in much the same manner. He finds comfort in the beat – reconciling the organic and artificial with his listless falsetto – and he’s able to take his “usual walk” where he ponders over the question, how can one reason with their own executioner? [LISTEN]

I went for my usual walk
I went around the block
I just can’t talk or reason with my executioner

Amok

Amok; Photo: N/ALooking sort of like a dehydrated salamander, Thom Yorke isn’t what we would call a conventional superhero. But don’t tell him that. On second thought he might even prefer it that way. On “Amok” he explains how his oppressors are trying to stifle out his call to arms. He sends out “choirs of angels” to help free the world from that devilish grip. But by not clearly identifying or acknowledging those forces, he’s able to let his message settle in like a distant echo where the listener is free to characterize their demons as they see fit: [LISTEN]

They court disaster
I’m trying to be a thought killer
A penny for your thoughts my love