Unveiled last year with a surprise live show, The Smile marks Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood's first first full-band collaboration outside Radiohead. Working with versatile, sinewy drummer Tom Skinner from kinetic free-jazz collective Sons of Kemet, the pair draw on decades of fertile creative chemistry for this eclectic debut, free-forming across a broad stylistic range from knotty post-punk to woozy analogue folk-rock to luminous electro-orchestral abstraction.
Six years after Radiohead released A Moon-Shaped Pool – their longest album gap to date – A Light for Attracting Attention could comfortably have borne the duo's day-job band name without sounding incongruous.
Longtime producer Nigel Godrich is behind the desk, after all, and several of these tracks pre-exist The Smile. A handful sprawl and meander a little because, hey, who would dare edit two revered avant-rock overlords?
But otherwise quality levels are reliably high, with Yorke channeling vintage Neil Young on Free In The Knowledge, snarling American-accented punk vitriol on You Will Never Work In Television Again, and cooing wistful traumatised-choirboy sighs over Greenwood's exquisite filigree guitar-picking on Skrting On The Surface. Whatever the label says, this is the best Radiohead album in over a decade.