October 2006

Thom Yorke - The Eraser
XL CV200
Format: CD
Released: 2006

by Michael Galvin

Musical Performance ****
Recording Quality ****
Overall Enjoyment ****

The Eraser is Thom Yorke's first solo album. It was produced by Nigel Godrich, longtime producer of Yorke’s regular band, Radiohead. Anyone who has listened to Radiohead will find familiar territory here. The music is often a kaleidoscope of electronic bleeps and such, which mates well with Yorke’s distinctive melancholy vocals. In that respect, it is most like Radiohead’s Kid A., a seminal piece of modern electronic pop.

Where this recording changes course is in its perspective. The Eraser sounds more personal than anything Radiohead has released. Many songs feature "I" and "me." Similarly, it doesn’t have the huge, chaotic crescendos of sound that are so much a part of the Radiohead repertoire and that, at times, overwhelm.

The result of the sparse arrangements is a keener focus on the lyrics. This is where the record really shines. "Analyse" features a rather melancholy piano and, later; keyboard set to an internal monologue. "Black Swan" incorporates an eerie, Radioheadesque background with lyrics that are almost impassioned. Yorke has never given us access to his thoughts as he does here.