Track Review: Atoms For Peace – “Default”

[XL Recordings; 2012]

After being quickly swept under the rug following Radiohead’s release of The King Of Limbs and its subsequent tour, Atoms For Peace triumphantly reemerges with its debut single, “Default.” The natural inclination for many will be to compare “Default” with Thom Yorke’s The Eraser. While that album was the impetus for Atoms For Peace’s formation – and there are some elements of its jagged electronics here – the track has more in common with the post-Fragile work of Nine Inch Nails. “Default” is built upon nervous, slinky beats cut by waves of glorious electronic waves over which Yorke croons in the most R&B sounding voice he’s ever committed to tape. It’s a fresh frame of reference for Thom Yorke.

All that said, “Default” is a building block rather than a finished product. After only a few spins the song has already revealed all its tricks and turns, and the absence of any obvious Flea influence is really disappointing. But it’s just too seductive and inviting to not take this as a good omen for the full blown Atoms For Peace album expected sometime early next year.