Atoms For Peace – Default (single) (XL Recordings)

Atoms For Peace is the name given to Thom Yorke’s project, which also consists of longtime Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, Red Hot Chili Pepper’s Flea, drummer Joey Waronker, and percussionist Mauro Refosco.

Initially formed as the live band to accompany Thom while touring ‘The Eraser’ album, Flea told Rolling Stone magazine “At the end of the tour we went into a studio for three days and just jammed – totally improvising. Thom and Nigel [Godrich] have taken that stuff and done shit with it”.  Whether ‘Default’ is one of the tracks from those jam sessions is as hard to tell as deciding whether the bass and drums here are actual or electronic.

It’s really hard to make comparisons for Atoms For Peace; Thom Yorke is truly in a league of his own and his frequent stints at DJ’ing are certainly on display here.

Throw on some headphones and immerse yourself; ‘Default’ is an absolute delight to listen to.

Following a simple verse and chorus arrangement, ‘Default’ initial sounds like ‘Skip Divided’ from The Eraser with its deep sub-bass pulses but quickly moves to include a soundtrack made up of electronic blips, punchy electro beats, overlapping percussive hits, Kraftwerk-like staccato synth stabs, and heavy reverb applied just to the tail end of each word during the verse.

When the vintage Juno synths enter at 1:40 and take center stage during the chorus, Thom moves from his falsetto vocal in the verses into a soulful full voice, and ‘Default’ hits the mark, spot on.

A perfectly crafted song full of quirky instrument and production choices, ‘Default’ is everything that makes the work of Thom Yorke so damn exciting. ‘Default’ is a wonderful taste of things to come.

‘Default’ was released as a single on 7 September and is available from iTunes now.

Watch the video for “Default” below: