Smile! It's a new album from Radiohead. Or at least it might as well be, even if it's only actually Thom York and Johnnny Greenwood, working here with Sons of Kemet drummer Tom Skinner, rather than the rest of the band.
The new record entitled A Light for Attracting Attention, to all effects and purposes, might as well be a Radiohead album.Listening to it it's difficult to work out how it might have sounded differently had the other three members contributed.
All of them doubtless, have been invaluable contributors to all of the immense and incredible recordings the band have put out down the years. But it's not a huge diservice to them to say that Yorke and Johnny, (to distinguish him from brother Colin), have always been the driving creative heart and soul of that band.
Such is obvious here, if it wasn't already. A Light is immediately quite thrilling. Replete with the juderring unease and disquiet that marks Radiohead and Yorke's best stuff. And with a band as good as this one, it's difficult to know where to start in that respect.
Yorke is still all tics and itches. All Post Millenium restless angst, like an insect pulsing just beneath the skin. Johnny meanwhile provides the shifting surfaces, and boy is he one phennomenal musician. Able to switch from Can, to Led Zeppelin to Jazz to signature Radiohead pathways at will.
Much of this is familiar. Both Yorke and Greenwood have made a lot of music that sounds like this before. It may not actually put a smile on your face. That's not something either of these two or indeed Radiohead have really done much down the years. Perhaps there's some irony at play with the name they chose for this particular project. That doesn't mean it won't exhilarate you.
But the record is certainly fairly essential. Undoubtedly one of the best albums I've heard this year. They're both remarkable and so is this album. A Light for Attracting Attention is a model lesson in doing essentially the same thing differently and most of all keeping it very, very fresh.