“You know, it’s simple.” With these words Andy Yorke, the younger brother of the inescapable Thom, opens his debut solo album, Simple. He seems to be making a pointed statement—don’t compare us, please. Over a straightforward guitar arpeggio, in the smooth tenor voice of an a capella soloist, he repeats: “You know, it’s simple.” Yorke’s in the business of mainstream, slightly melancholic soft-pop, ringing with acoustic strums and flourishes of cello/strings. It’s well-constructed enough, in a predictable way. Yorke builds on his brief experience with Britpop group Unbelievable Truth in the mid-nineties on his debut, mostly constructing folky songs with understated choruses. He does well, mostly, to avoid the keening emotion that draws his voice closer in timbre to his brother’s, instead tending to clear falsetto to match the ringing treble guitar arpeggi. And on his best songs, like the haunting “Diamant” and stately and pastoral “Let It Be True”, he taps into a heartfelt, personal expression. Oh, and just to make sure you’re still not thinking of Thom, Yorke emphasizes—“I don’t want the world to change / It has to always be this way” (on “Twist of the Knife”). He repeats it a few times, just to be sure.
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