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Eraser
     

The Eraser

4.5 7
by Thom Yorke
 

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All too often, when the frontman of a highly recognizable band decides to decamp on a solo venture, the results have the air of a busman's holiday -- a disc that could just as easily have been proffered under the moniker of the band in question. Not so this offering from Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke. While it's not a radical departure from

Overview

All too often, when the frontman of a highly recognizable band decides to decamp on a solo venture, the results have the air of a busman's holiday -- a disc that could just as easily have been proffered under the moniker of the band in question. Not so this offering from Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke. While it's not a radical departure from what fans are used to hearing, this complex, highly charged disc certainly flaunts different facets of Yorke's persona, both in terms of sound and emotional tone. There's a dark, sometimes desperate feel to songs like the eerie "The Clock" -- on which the singer keeps coming back to the mantra that "time is running out for all of us" -- but The Eraser isn't a downer. Rather, recalling Kid A or Amnesiac, it's an invitation to push the negative energies aside, a vibe that's especially contagious on the wide-screen "It Rained All Night," which carries an almost childlike sense of awe about the grandeur of the natural world. Mooted to be Yorke's "electronic" album, The Eraser does have its share of cryptic sonics -- the sample-delic "Analyze" is particularly stark in its mad-scientist approach -- but there's plenty of sinew and soul on display. Take "Harrowdown Hill," on which Yorke and producer Nigel Godrich cook up a rhythmic gumbo that's spiced with good doses of funk, or "Atoms for Peace," a full-bodied blend of space-pop and visceral moodiness. Those are, admittedly, blips on the radar screen of an album that's purposefully low-key, dominated by Yorke's sighing vocals and feathery piano touches. But they go a long way towards humanizing The Eraser, making it an album that connects on both a basic level and a very deep one.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Andy Kellman
The Eraser, Thom Yorke's first album away from Radiohead, is intensely focused and steady. It doesn't have the dynamics -- the shifts of mood, tempo, volume -- held by any Radiohead album, and it's predominantly electronic, so it's bound to rankle many of the fans who thought Kid A was too unhinged from rock & roll. It's definitely not the kind of album you put on to get an instant shot of energy, and at the same time, it doesn't contain anything as sullen as "How to Disappear Completely." Since it is so balanced, it might initially seem unwavering, but the details that differentiate the songs become increasingly apparent with each successive listen. Despite a reliance on machine beats and synthetic textures, Yorke's untouched, upfront vocals and relatively straightforward lyrics should be enough to bring back some of the detractors; he would have no trouble taking these songs on the road with a piano and an acoustic guitar. "Black Swan," the standout, comes across as a less guitar-heavy and more subdued version of Amnesiac's "I Might Be Wrong." Peek beneath the surface and you'll see that there's a lot more seething involved: "You have tried your best to please everyone/But it just isn't happening/No, it just isn't happening/And it's f*cked up, f*cked up." The opener, the title track, asks the album's first set of probing questions, including "Are you only being nice because you want something?" Along with the thoroughly sweet "Atoms for Peace," it vies for the album's prettiest-sounding five minutes, elevating into a chorus of hovering sighs as Yorke projects lightly with a matter-of-fact tone, "The more I try to erase you, the more, the more, the more that you appear." On the explicitly political end is "Harrowdown Hill," anchored by a snapping bass riff and percussive accents that skitter and slide back and forth between the left and right channels. Yorke defeatedly states, "You will be dispensed with when you become inconvenient," and asks "Did I fall or was I pushed?" referring to Dr. David Kelly, a whistle-blowing U.N. weapons inspector whose death -- which took place following a sequence of events that led to a testimonial before a parliamentary committee -- was ruled a suicide. It's no shock that the album entails some heavy subject matter and sounds as close to a version of Radiohead minus four of its members as one can imagine. What distinguishes The Eraser from the Radiohead albums, beyond the aspects mentioned above, is its ability to function in the background or as light listening without the requirement of deep concentration. The constant stream of soft, intricately layered sounds, while not without a great deal of tension in most spots, can be very comforting. Yorke's assertion that the album isn't truly a solo release is accurate. Producer Nigel Godrich, whose relationship with Radiohead exceeds a decade, played a major role, contributing arrangements, "extra instruments," and enough influence to guide the album into its tight song-oriented structure. Without him, the well-executed album would've likely sounded a lot closer to the kind of stray-idea patchwork experiment that so many other long-boiling side projects resemble. And, to a somewhat lesser extent, Yorke needed his bandmates as well; some of the sounds were pulled and manipulated from a bank of the band's unused recordings.
Rolling Stone - Rob Sheffield
Excellent.... It's intensely beautiful, yet it explores the kind of emotional turmoil that makes the angst of OK Computer or The Bends sound like kid stuff.
Billboard - Jonathan Cohen
There's a generous helping of great melodies ("Atoms for Peace," "Analyse"), which only makes one wonder: How many other songs like this is Yorke keeping to himself?
Boston Globe - Jonathan Perry
Sure, the now-familiar, skittering electro-bleeps and synth burbles are here, but Yorke's impressionistic voice, which he has always treated as just another instrument in the mix, has never been clearer or more direct.
Atlanta Journal Constitution - Nick Marino
[Grade: B] "Eraser" seems designed for restless nights, for restless listeners. It's cool, linear, hushed and twitchy.
The Guardian - Alexis Petridis
The Eraser is no more experimental than the average Radiohead album. In fact, it sounds exactly like you would expect a Thom Yorke solo album to sound: twitchy electronic beats, doomy washes of synthesizer, backing vocals that are invariably high, wordless and ghostly.
Austin Chronicle - Raoul Hernandez
1/2 It's a vital addition to a bibliography that, even with new, unrecorded Radiohead Strum ("Nude") und Drang ("Bangers 'n' Mash"), no one can erase.
Miami Herald - Evelyn McDonnell
These nine cuts don't sound like the work of a man striking out on his own: more like the meditations of a reluctant monk.
Hartford Courant - Eric R. Danton
Uneasy inscrutability has become something of a trademark in Yorke's lyrics - like the musical equivalent of the nightmarish bureaucracy in Kafka's novels - and he sings foreboding words in a haunting, plaintive voice.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/11/2006
Label:
Xl Recordings
UPC:
0634904020026
catalogNumber:
40200
Rank:
41246

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The Eraser 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Thom Yorke is fantastic..a great solo album. Let the beats and lyrics take you. Time IS running out.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is a funky affair indeed, this first solo effort from Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke. With a clear feel of his legacy, The Eraser only veers, albeit with plenty of muscle, into a funky Prince vibe circa 2525. The songs seem to spin off of one from another in a unified attemt to keep the futuristic going. I reakky loved the album and I'm a sucker for a falsetto, especially a shaky urgent one like Yorkes. I didn't find any fault with the CD eiher, acceping it for what it was and not even thinking about what it wasn't. It's just a great jam, not everybodies jam, but a great and interesting one for me. RLW
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a must have. Whether you like Radiohead or not pick this up ASAP
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favourite albums. The Eraser will not be erased in the future because this album is immortal!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
"Eraser" is a shimmering arrangement of Yorke's electronic leanings, though not lacking the subtle but relevant Radiohead touch. Delicate in an entirely new way, it would be silly to deem this particular album 'futuristic' since the body of Radiohead's collective output has been nothing but. The difference here is that Yorke takes the concepts found on Kid A and Amnesiac and draws them into new territory--always graceful but with less of the stark, gritty machinations and an increase in fluid, transcendent melodies. Another welcomed addition to the Radiohead dreamscape.
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