Thom Yorke – Suspiria review

Secret Meeting score: 80

Who better to create a haunting, melancholic, dark, washed-out landscape than Thom Yorke? Crafted with the same soft, distant curves and gaunt expression of The Scream, the Radiohead frontman has delivered what could be classed as a traditional soundtrack – one that moulds into the background, designed to accentuate pictures and deliver emotional cues – rather than creating a set of outright songs.

The 80-minute score is painted with cinematic, minor-key passages, and dressed with strings and piano, electronic abstraction and gothic Americana. Tracks run together, connected and unsettling. Opener A Storm That Took Everything tears in with a raft of dark, choral synths which will make your hair stand up on end, while Volk – written for the central dance for the young women in the film (Suspiria) – centres around an off-kilter arpeggio set in 5/8 time, which sends the listener into a whirlpool with that extra beat.

Fully-fleshed out songs interject periodically. The excellent Suspirium is the clear Radiohead calling card – a lilting ballad delivered through key switching piano arrangements and oblique lyrics. Has Ended is a compelling droning dirge set to a hurdy-gurdy grind and a slow, almost funky drum shuffle, while Unmade is a moving four-chord colossus which sees Yorke’s falsetto at its most vulnerable, set in front of a soaring chorus of choirboy harmonies – the record’s pinnacle.

It’s no easy listen. Parts feel almost written to be unlistenable, befitting of the genre the record has been crafted for. Yorke’s attention to atmosphere and emotive touch will undoubtedly benefit the film and that’s exactly how this should be considered, not by comparison to his back catalogue.

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