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Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood’s new band The Smile share rehearsal clip

The Smile formed in lockdown as a Radiohead side project

By Charlotte Krol

Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood of The Smile in a composite image
Thom Yorke; Jonny Greenwood. (Picture: Wikimedia commons/Raph_PH; Wikimedia commons)

The Smile, the new band formed by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood, have surprised fans with a rehearsal livestream.

The band, completed by Sons of Kemet drummer Tom Skinner, shared a practice session via an Instagram Live yesterday (December 2).

In May, the Radiohead side project was previewed with a set at Glastonbury Festival’s Live At Worthy Farm, which was organised in place of the physical event that had been cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. The Smile’s involvement was only announced hours before the livestream began.

Yorke made one comment during the set as he 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 trio took their name from a Ted Hughes poem of the same name.

A setlist was shared by the band afterwards to give fans a peek at the song titles – see below.

They are yet to have released a debut single and, according to NME, are working on a debut album.

“The Smile came about from just wanting to work on music with Thom in lockdown,” Greenwood revealed in an interview with the publication earlier this year.

“We didn’t have much time, but we just wanted to finish some songs together. It’s been very stop-start, but it’s felt a happy way to make music.”

The track arrived with a video starring Guy Pearce, bringing the lyrics “Nowadays I get panicked/I cease to exist” to reality, as Pearce frantically runs around his apartment to avoid the camera.

In other Radiohead news, the band have released a studio rendition of ‘Follow Me Around‘ from their box set/20th anniversary reissue ‘Kid A Mnesia’ more than two decades after its creation.

Pearce let slip on Twitter in advance that he was included in the video: “It’s not every day you find a free working toaster on the side of the road. It’s also not every day you get to be in a Radiohead video clip. Both happened a few weeks ago.”

‘Kid A Mnesia’ focuses on the sessions for the band’s sister masterpieces ‘Kid A’ (2000) and ‘Amnesiac’ (2001), but ‘Follow Me Around’ predates that period; the band can be seen working through the track in the Ok Computer-era documentary Meeting People Is Easy.

Thom Yorke has performed it at rare occasions over the years – with Atoms For Peace and in 2017 with Jonny Greenwood – but this is its first official release.