Thom Yorke’s the Smile Release New Song ‘Skrting on the Surface’
The track, set in a hypnotic 11/8 time, layers Greenwood’s fingerpicked electric guitars into an ocean of delay, with Yorke gently crooning in falsetto. At multiple points, the rhythm section falls away to highlight the tangled arpeggios, making space for a muted woodwind section.
The trio paired the song with Mark Jenkin’s black-and-white video, filmed within the disused Rosevale Tin Mine in Cornwall, England. Yorke stars in the grainy clip, which echoes Robert Eggers’ 2019 film, The Lighthouse, in its claustrophobic atmosphere.
You can watch the visual below.
"Skrting on the Surface" was debuted live, along with previously issued cuts "The Smoke" and "You Will Never Work in Television Again," during the Glastonbury Festival's Live at Worthy Farm livestream in May 2021. The Smile followed that performance with three in-person (and live-streamed) shows in late January. They played 15 total songs during that stretch, debuting new material and covering Joe Jackson’s "It’s Different for Girls."
Despite mentioning their debut album in press releases and various interviews, the Smile have yet to announce a track listing or release date. Producer Nigel Godrich discussed the project with The Coda Collection in July, saying, "It’s an interesting juxtaposition of things, but it does make sense. It will make sense." In an August interview with NME, Greenwood said they were "sitting in front of a pile of music, working out what will make the record."