The Smile – the trio of Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood and Tom Skinner – have returned with a new single called “Bending Hectic”, which follows up last year’s debut album. The track was recorded at Abbey Road Studios (seen above) and features the adornments of the London Contemporary Orchestra (LCO).
It appears the trio are already getting more comfortable with each other and pushing to new lengths, as “Bending Hectic” finds them expanding across eight minutes – their longest track to date. It all starts serene and dreamy, Yorke’s voice coasting across languorous guitars and glistening strings – it’s only when you actually tune into the words that you realise something more unsettling us afoot. Calmly, Yorke describes driving at high speed around a hairpin turn and flying off the edge of a cliff; “The ground is coming for me now / We’vе gone over the edge / If you’ve got something to say / Say it now”. Going up in a burst of flames, the song’s second half finds Greenwood going full axe god with metallic riffs while Skinner pounds his skins and the LCO inject the necessary drama for this fiery scene. In the midst of this maelstrom, Yorke finds new strength: “Despite these slings / Despite these arrows / I’ll force myself to turn” he sings, and as the song continues to combust he turns in mid-air and rises again like a phoenix.