Thom Yorke
The Eraser


4.0
excellent

Review

by The Katz brothers USER (183 Reviews)
July 17th, 2006 | 26 replies | 5,987 views


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist


I had very mixed feelings when I learned that instead of receiving a new Radiohead record in 2006, the world would be given Thom Yorke’s solo debut. I was, being the Radiohead fan boy I am, quite disappointed that no (legal) new Radiohead songs would grace my iPod until 2007. But then there was kind of an eerie anticipation for Yorke’s solo record. What would it sound like? Would it be Radiohead? Electric? Acoustic? Some of my questions were answered in the many interviews that Yorke gave over the two months leading up to the release The Eraser but some I had to wait for the answer until minutes after tearing open The Eraser’s shrink wrap coating (I didn’t want the first listen to be spoiled by leaks). Here are my impressions:

The Eraser is very much an electronic album. Taking the Kid A route, Thom trades Guitar, Bass and Drums for the bleeps, boops and clicks of his laptop and samples. The production (i.e. The Beats) is very minimalist, weak ( but not in a bad way) drum beats and short synth loops make up the many of the album’s beats, kind of like Aphex Twin, or even Southern Rap music (Crunk). Dipping in and out of these loops are cool (for lack of a better word) samples and such. Title track “The Eraser” makes perfect use of this. Staccato piano hits (played by Radiohead multi-instrumentalist Jonny Greenwood) are looped over top a simple Drum Machine beat. Near the second verse strange synth arpeggios are thrown into the mix while backing vocals are thrown in the choruses to compromise with Yorke’s falsetto. Like I said before, the production on some songs almost sounds like the production of a Hip-Hop record, the beat on “The Clock” almost sounds like it is beat boxed. All in all, this style of production makes for a great listen, but can be a tad annoying at first listen.

Not all the production is minimalist Electronica though. Songs like “Black Swan” could easily be on a Radiohead album, and not just Kid A/Amnesiac. Black Swan specifically has all the makings of, well, a normal Alt Rock song. A simple yet weird guitar riff, a nice bass part and a drum beat that could almost pass of as being played on a regular guitar. Other songs while much denser, still hold an electronica feel, songs like “And It Rained All Night” take this format. Whatever the kind of beat, Thom certainly delivers on vocals. Whether it be singing the chilling backing vocals to “Skip Divided” or hitting high notes on Atoms for Peace, Thom’s vocals on The Eraser are up to par with his Radiohead vocals. In other words, the vocals are great. The Eraser is very much a vocal record. No longer can Yorke hide behind his band mates, the spotlight is on him. Even some of the effects on Thom’s voice are gone, making it sound more natural. If you’re not into Yorke’s voice with Radiohead then you certainly won’t like it on this album, plain and simple.

Despite good vocals and beats, the lyrics are where The Eraser truly shines. As proved with Radiohead time and time again, Thom Yorke doesn’t write happy lyrics. The lyrics on The Eraser aren’t an exception. Yorke’s dark metaphors are quite hard to decipher, so most of the time you can’t really tell what exactly he is singing about. In spite of this, the lyrics are fantastic. Examples follow:
Quote:
People get crushed like biscuit crumbs/And laid down in the bitumen/You have tried your best to please everyone/But it just isn't happening/No, it just isn't happening
From Black Swan (If you don’t know Bitumen is a road surfacing material).
Quote:
It comes to you begging you to stop/ Wake up/ But you just move your hands upon the clock/ Throw coins in the wishing well/For us/ You make believe that you are still in charge
From The Clock.

The Eraser certainly isn’t for everyone, as you may be able to tell. For starters it is a very electronic record. Second the album does get boring at times. Most songs don’t have much change in them at all, so you hear nearly the same music throughout the verses and choruses. And don’t expect anything on The Eraser to make you want to dance/sing along. To sum things up, for many listeners The Eraser will seam very different and slightly boring. If these qualities don’t bother you, or you can look past them, then The Eraser is a superb album.

4/5

-Dan



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user ratings (723)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
July 17th 2006


17920 Comments


If youre not into Yorkes voice with Radiohead then you certainly wont like it on this album, plain and simple.

Guess I won't be checking this out.

Good review.


Hatshepsut
July 17th 2006


1997 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yorke's voice is pretty good I think...:-

Not sure if I should get this.

Oh yeah and good review, as usual.This Message Edited On 07.17.06

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
July 17th 2006


16088 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

This album is incredibly boring to me. Kind of like Kid A actually, just iwthout being nearly as good otherwise. Solid review anyways, despite the fact I don't understand how someone could like this this much.

Zebra
Moderator
July 17th 2006


2647 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

For me the album is just to repetitive. It seems like he recycles the same intense beat throughout the course of the album. Another problem is that I'm not to big on Yorke's voice in the first place.
Good work on the review my friend.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
July 17th 2006


15737 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review, The title track and Atoms For PEace own.

A lot of songs sound like Paperbag Writer.

Digging: Ricky Eat Acid - Three Love Songs

The Jungler
July 18th 2006


4827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

For me the album is just to repetitive. It seems like he recycles the same intense beat throughout the course of the album.
Yeah, the first time I listened to this sans a few tracks I felt the same way. But it grew on me.
The title track and Atoms For PEace own.
Don't forget Harrowdown Hill.
This Message Edited On 07.18.06

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
July 18th 2006


16088 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

It's probably not the best idea to go from listenng to Tangerine Dream to this. It just makes me dislike the album more.
Although, the album art is pretty cool. Oh wait, no it isnt, damn...

hummer
July 18th 2006


228 Comments


It really just feels like Kid A stripped down. I think Yorke needs Johnny Greenwood more than he thinks.

Black Swan is a baller song though.

And I really don't mind the album art.

The Jungler
July 18th 2006


4827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, I actually really like the album art. Better than most Radiohead cover art.

Two-Headed Boy
July 19th 2006


4527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I feel like a jackass for missing this review. Fantastic job.

Zebra
Moderator
July 19th 2006


2647 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

[quote=Hummer]I think Yorke needs Johnny Greenwood more than he thinks.[/quote] I agree. It's still hard to beleive that people enjoy this album so much, different strokes I suppose.


sevasXtra02
July 19th 2006


14 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think Thom is just as good on his own as with Radiohead, though I didn't think he would be before I heard this. The emotion, the creativity, and the musicianship are all still there.

Two-Headed Boy
July 24th 2006


4527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Better than most Radiohead cover art.

Lies.

Hatshepsut
July 24th 2006


1997 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I listened to a bit of the first track today, found it kinda boring and found something else to listen to.

Knoxvillelives
July 27th 2006


342 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I really like the album, but I can definitely see why people wouldnt as it is very repetitive. I guess I just love Radiohead and Thom Yorke, but this album is great. The Eraser, Atoms For Peace, Harrowdown Hill are really really great songs, but I can quite happily listen to this album through many times.
Hopefully getting the Kid A thing out of his system will mean Radioheads next album wil have some more smashing guitars

The Jungler
July 27th 2006


4827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

^^Your opinion and mine are about the same, except the part about Radiohead's new album.
Thanks for the comments.

Zebra
Moderator
July 27th 2006


2647 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I've listened to this album enough to establish a final rating and it's not that great. I think that the music is to bare and while it creates an eerie atmosphere it's just to bland and monotonous.
[quote=Knoxville] Hopefully getting the Kid A thing out of his system will mean Radioheads next album wil have some more smashing guitars[/quote] I'm hoping for the same.

The Jungler
July 27th 2006


4827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm hoping for the same.
I thought you loved Amnesiac though?

Zebra
Moderator
July 27th 2006


2647 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I do but it would be fun to see Radiohead make another album like The Bends. I didn't really enjoy Kid as much as others and I'd just rather hear some more rockin' Radiohead after three more ambient influenced albums.

The Jungler
July 27th 2006


4827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ah, I see. I wouldn't mind Radiohead's new album being another "The Bends" and it looks like that is whats going to happen.



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