The creation of Simple was several years and one continent removed from Andy Yorke's previous band, Unbelievable Truth. It's a debut solo album forged in quiet retreat with rusty skills. And although the title creates equal urges of attraction and restraint within a writer, it's difficult to avoid in regards to this release. It's a particularly apt reason for fashioning cliche, because the word "simple" is at the heart of this album and its approach, and reflects both its strengths and weaknesses.
Unbelievable Truth emerged for a brief time at the end of the '90s and its brit-rock revival. Although Andy's relation to brother Thom Yorke of Radiohead gained some easy press exposure, the band forged its own unique sound palette and was far removed from an attempt to capitalize on anyone else's success. Although their output was limited to a couple of nationally released albums, it was hard to deny the talent evident in what they were doing. Short and sweet.
Since that time, lead singer and songwriter Yorke left the group and moved abroad to work for Greenpeace. Although vowing to leave music behind, the release of Simple proves that plans have a way of changing. Not only does Yorke enlist the help of some of his former band mates for this release, but is once again touring in support of the album.
The style of the record retains an unwavering acoustic simplicity throughout. Fans of Unbelievable Truth's debut, Almost Here, will feel at home, as the bulk of the material steers more in that direction. But this one comes across as a quality bedroom recording, in large part due to its limited instrumental palette and undoctored, raw vocals. Acoustic guitar is supported by cello, light percussion, and the occasional mellotron. In fact, this approach has an endearing quality that lends the record a certain level of grace that a more overly-polished release would miss. Because when some of the tracks don't quite hit their songwriting mark, at least the conversational style and intimate setting retains some authenticity.