Our first impressions of the Radiohead frontman's surprise release
Andy Morris

16:24 26th September 2014

Going one better than Aphex Twin releasing a single through the Deep Web and Bono hijacking the world's iTunes accounts, Thom Yorke has decided to embrace BitTorrent.

Naturally this means of transfer weren't unexpected enough, so Yorke decided to release it late on a Friday afternoon, accompanied by a lengthy statement and a tweet announcing "I'm trying something new" by way of explanation.

So is it worth the £3.69 Yorke is asking for? Certainly - and there's more than than can possibly be processed on single figure listening. However we're delighted to confirm this is more than a match for The Eraser and AMOK: there are moments of genuine wonder and others as striking as The King Of Limbs. Our first thoughts below:

1. 'A Brain In a Bottle'
A dark disconcerting opener, all throbbing, jittery bass with enough glitchy funk to make you feel like it's 4am and your body has become to move involitarily on the dancefloor. Would follow your average Flying Lotus record rather well.

2. 'Guess Again!'
Like listening to a late-period Radiohead record that's been recently exhumed from a tomb - once you blow the dust off it you can truly appreciate its beauty. Yorke talks ominously about howling dogs, creatures, darkness and "the one who can't be killed". Also confirmation that the Radiohead frontman can make the phrase "As one door shuts, another one opens" sound like your average horror movie plot.

3. 'Interference'
As naturally pessimistic a vision of the future as one might expect: "The ground may open up and swallow us in an instant...but I don't have a right to interfere". Of course Yorke's more aware than most of the pervasive creep of technology intoning: "In the future we will change our numbers and lose contact".

4. 'The Mother Lode'
A wonky head-nodder with a delicate high vocal that feels like a shard of light suddenly illuminating the packed second room of London's Fabric nightclub. One of the most unexpectedly beautiful tracks Yorke has ever produced.

5. 'Truth Ray'
Another change in pace: delicate shifting tones, that might soundtrack an on-screen science fiction scene. Yorke's repeated cries of "No Mercy" have a perculiar drive to them, accompanied by something that sounds like tremendous generators sparking into life. It is in many ways the most linear track on the record - but that's no bad thing.

6. 'There Is No Ice (For My Drink)'
With the kind of beyond-parody song title that would make Bryan Ferry blush, this actually the kind of off-kilter Beatport-bothering rhythm (with someone mumbling something indiscriminate along it). Around the six minute mark there's a tinkly piano coda that offers some welcome relief.

7. 'Pink Section'
Not to be confused with the new Nicki Minaj record, this is a discomboluating combination of random piano plonks, spectral voices and assorted oddities. Our anaconda? Didn't want none.

8. 'Nose Grows Some'
A strange, pensive track with Yorke's voice melding in and out of the melody. There's an undeniable edge of menace but a few fleeting moments of hope. Clunky funk beats draw us to a sudden close.

Tomorrow's Modern Boxes is available now. Download the album here.

Photo: Press