The Decaturian is Millikin's student-run newspaper. The opinions reflected may not be those of Millikin as an institution.

The Decaturian

The Decaturian is Millikin's student-run newspaper. The opinions reflected may not be those of Millikin as an institution.

The Decaturian

The Decaturian is Millikin's student-run newspaper. The opinions reflected may not be those of Millikin as an institution.

The Decaturian

The Smile Prove They’re More Than Just a Radiohead Side-Project on “Wall of Eyes”

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I’m no stranger to the art-rock legends Radiohead. As a matter of fact, about five years ago this month was when I first fell in love with their music. “OK Computer,” “Kid A” and especially “In Rainbows” were all stepping stones for my ever-evolving music journey. Now in 2024, founding members Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood, with the help of drummer Tom Skinner, crafted an album of lush instrumentation and intricate song structure that could live up to some of Radiohead’s classics.

“Wall of Eyes” kicks off rather understated. The opening title track sets a nice, somber mood with soft acoustics and Yorke’s signature vocal runs. “Teleharmonic” continues this soothing tone with even more layered synths and reverb-heavy guitar and vocal lines. Like a lot of Thom Yorke’s songwriting, I can’t say I fully understand it yet, but the more I listen to what the music is conveying, the more everything else starts to perfectly align. “Read the Room” and “Under Our Pillows” start to bring in more driving riffs and energetic production, reminiscent of the group’s first record “A Light for Attracting Attention,” which was focused more on standard art and radio rock influences while “Wall of Eyes” takes a more progressive and post rock approach. Single “Friend of a Friend” also falls nicely into this camp, but with an even more memorable progression and atmosphere.

The last three tracks are easily my favorite final moments on an album so far this year. “I Quit” might just be my favorite on the entire record with its melancholic, brooding tone yet soft, angelic vocal performance by Yorke. It might also be the most instantly relatable track here as well. “Bending Hectic” blew me away as a single last summer and it works even better in context. One of the best payoffs in a song I’ve heard in a long time. And closing out as soft as we began, “You Know Me!” could be the most reminiscent of past Radiohead material in the best way. Take the most intimate moments on “A Moon Shaped Pool” and “Amnesiac” and you have one fantastic roll-credits sequence.

It’s nice to hear from these guys again. Even if it took a few extra steps, I’m happy to call this another art-rock opus for the books. In their mid-50s, the internet’s most beloved rock innovators are still sounding as good as they did in the 90s.

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“I swear I’m seeing double.”

My rating: 9.1/10

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Eli Bland, Arts Editor

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