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The Smile Debut Paul Thomas Anderson Video, Tease More New Music

Radiohead-adjacent trio's new album, 'Wall of Eyes,' arrives Jan. 26
Thom Yorke (photo: Dannah Gottlieb)

Ahead of the Jan. 26 release of their sophomore album Wall of Eyes, the Smile kicked off a series of special events in worldwide cinemas last night (Jan. 18) to showcase their members’ long-running collaboration with 11-time Oscar-nominated director Paul Thomas Anderson. The highlight was the premiere of the Anderson-directed video for the Wall of Eyes track “Friend of a Friend,” which will see wide release later this month.

In the clip, Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood and Tom Skinner are shown performing “Friend of a Friend” in a small auditorium filled with an audience of elementary school students, whose reactions range from complete indifference to bemused bewilderment to outright hostility (a young blonde boy stands up and boos at the end). Per a surprise Q&A with the band at yesterday’s London event, one of the kids is Skinner’s son.

Following a surround sound playback of Wall of Eyes, attendees were treated to audio of an additional song from the sessions on which Yorke’s angelic voice is backed only by piano and strings. Yorke said during the London Q&A that the track is titled “Tiptoe,” although he did not specify how or when it will see the light of day.

The screening events also featured a short, silent film with footage of the Smile recording Wall of Eyes at London’s famed Abbey Road Studios, Anderson’s previously released video for the new album’s title track and his past work with both Yorke (Anima) and Radiohead (“Daydreaming,” Yorke/Greenwood performances of “Present Tense” and “The Numbers”). Fans will be able to purchase a limited-edition cassette of the album at the screenings, as well as exclusive t-shirts and a bespoke the Smile zine. For a list of upcoming dates and venues, click here.

The Smile have extensive European touring on tap this spring and summer, beginning March 7 in Dublin and wrapping in late August at Lisbon’s Meo Kalorama festival. No North American shows have yet been announced.