Image source: BBC
Straight out of Glastonbury at the Live Worthy Farm streaming event, Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke and Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood have formed a new three-piece project with drummer Tom Skinner. They call themselves The Smile, and it’s the type of news that would definitely put a smile on any of their fans’ faces.
The announcement came mere hours before the livestream, which found the newly formed band playing an eight-song set. With two Radiohead members at the forefront, The Smile’s sound is reminiscent of early Radiohead’s vintage rock era. It is a great recall of Yorke and Greenwood’s forays into guitar-driven, prog alt-rock, and fans are more than happy to have this sonic resurfacing.
The event was initially ticketed, but technical difficulties led the organizers to open the stream to the public. The Smile performed on stream between sets from Jorja Smith and Kano. In a mere 30 minutes of unadulterated Radiohead bliss, The Smile performed their songs to a livestream audience that was reportedly begging for more.
Though the band isn’t just a Radiohead reskin, it’s an entirely different project that might replicate the sound, but not the personality. The Smile is a different beast all on its own, the difference lies in the nuance, as Skinner provides a layer of personality with his aggressive drums blended with Greenwood’s bassline.
Yorke and Greenwood are known to be trailblazers in the music industry, dipping their toes in various projects and flexing their creative chops in various areas of film and music. Their latest side project, The Smile remains to be as cryptic as they are in typical Radiohead fashion, but as long as the band is around it’s sure to create music that will captivate audiences from all over the world.
Admittedly, there’s no word on what’s next from the project which is said to involve long-time Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich. Based on the band’s recent performance there’s enough content to produce an entire album, which is always a good thing for fans who’ve been begging for more of this kind of music.
The Smile might seem like a happy name for such a dark and progressive sounding band, but as Yorke himself introduced the band: “Ladies and gentlemen, we are called ‘The Smile.’ Not the smile as in ‘ahh!’, more ‘The Smile’ as in, the guy who lies to you every day.” The band takes its name from a Ted Hughes poem, and much of their sound reflects those exact sensibilities.
The world is definitely in need of a Radiohead resurgence, and The Smile is giving the world exactly what it needs right now. It’s only a matter of time before new knowledge about the project will surface, hopefully the band is here to stay for good and it isn’t just a little side project by Yorke, Greenwood, and Skinner. If that may be the case, then at least the band has performed in what seems to be a once-in-a-lifetime event, but there’s plenty of content to go around and an album release is all but imminent at this point.