Radiohead spin-off, The Smile, have released their latest single, ‘Skirting On The Surface’. A languid piece, none of the instruments are in a rush, and the track slowly washes over you as if you’re swimming in some form of viscous, sweet-tasting liquid. The classic warm tone of Jonny Greenwood’s Telecaster carries the track as he finger picks one of his typical, jazz-inflected guitar parts, which is not dissimilar to Radiohead’s ‘The Numbers’.
In short, ‘Skirting On The Surface’ is gorgeous. It’s a piece of real minimalist beauty that forces you to slow down and relax. It’s the perfect soundtrack for the sunny weather that has surprised us this week, and elements of the instrumentation, particularly the orchestra, are akin to the sun-drenched soundscapes that Greenwood created for the Inherent Vice soundtrack. There are clear similarities between the floating melodies of the brass, woodwind, and the tone of the bass to the track ‘Spooks’.
The glistening new track was debuted by the band during Glastonbury’s Live At Worthy Farm livestream bonanza last summer, and dazzled the lucky few who were in the audience at The Smile’s recent London shows. Unsurprisingly, the track originated as a Radiohead demo, and we can hear the similarities between it and many of Radiohead’s more recent cuts.
‘Skirting On The Surface’ is The Smile’s third single, following on from ‘The Smoke’ and ‘You’ll Never Work In Television Again’. It’s accompanited by an A24-esque video, which was shot in 16mm monochrome by BAFTA-winning director Mark Jenkin in Cornwall’s disused Rosevale Tin Mine. Reflecting the kind of love for art that The Smile have, the film was hand developed in water from the mine.
Possibly The Smile‘s best offering yet, be prepared to be whisked away to the unique dreamland that Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood are so adept at creating. It’s an intoxicating piece, and we cannot wait to hear what else The Smile have in store for us.
Listen to ‘Skirting On The Surface’ below.