Nu-Radiohead—that is, English trio The Smile, featuring that band’s Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood alongside Sons of Kemet’s Tom Skinner—have announced their second studio album.
Titled Wall of Eyes and produced by past Yorke collaborator Sam Petts-Davies, the LP is due out Jan. 26, 2024, on XL Recordings. The band this week shared the Paul Thomas Anderson-directed music video for its title track, as well as the details of their new headlining tour of the U.K. and EU.
The Smile recorded the follow-up to their 2022 debut A Light for Attracting Attention in Oxford and at Abbey Road Studios, incorporating string arrangements by the London Contemporary Orchestra. “Wall of Eyes” is our second preview of the album after “Bending Hectic,” which the band debuted live at 2022’s Montreux Jazz Festival and released as a one-off single over the summer.
Where A Light for Attracting Attention was heralded by the band’s debut single “You Will Never Work in Television Again,” a twitchy, no-nonsense rocker that some compared to early Radiohead (go figure), and “The Smoke,” a groove-driven showcase of what Skinner brings to the table, The Smile’s Wall of Eyes singles indicate a band that is steadily mutating into a sound entirely its own. The title track begins with heavily distorted percussion and rhythmic acoustic chords, a sparse frame for Yorke’s ever-haunting vocals as he considers the emptiness of the modern condition: “Behind a wall of eyes / Of your own device / Is that still you / With the hollow eyes?”
As the song sprawls, the London Contemporary Orchestra’s strings heighten its eerie atmosphere of existential dread, as if to evoke a vast abyss that surrounds and engulfs us. 11-time Oscar nominee (and frequent Yorke collaborator) Anderson’s video underscores the above, with striking imagery—a lone Yorke watching an enormous eye on a cinema screen, walking as if in isolation down a crowded city sidewalk, imbibing joylessly in a bustling restaurant, sinking passively into dark waters, observing a row of his many disparate selves—accumulating to make its message clear. As a wise man once wrote, “If you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”
The Smile’s newly announced tour is set for March 2024, with U.K. shows in London, Manchester and Glasgow, and EU dates in Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam. Tickets go on sale Friday, Nov. 17, at 9 a.m. U.K. time (4 a.m. ET) right here.
The Smile – March 2024 Tour Dates:
Thursday 7th March – Dublin – 3Arena
Wednesday 13th March – Copenhagen – K.B. Hallen
Friday 15th March – Brussels – Forest National
Saturday 16th March – Amsterdam – AFAS Live
Monday 18th March – Brighton – Brighton Centre
Tuesday 19th March – Manchester – O2 Apollo
Wednesday 20th March – Glasgow – SEC Armadillo
Friday 22nd March – Birmingham – O2 Academy
Saturday 23rd March – London – Alexandra Palace
Wall of Eyes Tracklist:
- Wall of Eyes
- Read the Room
- Under Our Pillows
- Friend of a Friend
- I Quit
- Bending Hectic
- You Know Me!