Thom Yorke - The Eraser CD £4.99 (£3.99 with voucher) + Free Delivery @ CD Wow - HotUKDeals
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Eraser, The
Clock, The
Black Swan
Skip Divided
Atoms For Peace
And It Rained All Night
Harrowdown Hill
Cymbal Rush
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andywedge Avatar
[mod] 7y, 8m agoFound 7 years, 8 months ago

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All hail the whiz-kid! Genius at work! This is a CD of unparalleled beauty and a musical marvel! You can bet that those headlines have already been written - before anyone actually took the time to play this album. Because this is a solo offering from the Radiohead voice, it sets the critics keyboards quivering in the expectation of new heights in self-expression. It doesn’t matter how rubbish it actually is, as any flaws would be interpreted as offbeat brilliance. May the Gods of Music smite you down if you dare to criticise Radiohead or their offspring. Of course they are a great band, but not automatic oracles of insight as delivered through a burning bush. So without the rest of the bunch behind him, how good is Thom on his own then?

For all the available money that he could have shaken a stick at, this has been made on a shoestring. Definitely admirable, and probably a very grounding experience to boot. The initial keyboard chords of the title track are obviously sampled, and quite clearly imperfect. Which is all more of the appeal. There are typically wailing overdubs before heading into a splendidly pseudo-dance ghostly section. It’s actually a really lovely track, even though it makes you wonder how it could have sounded with a cast (and budget) of thousands.

Never a classically brilliant singer, but what he lacks in ability, is more than doubled in passion. The self-belief is never less than 100%. So his wavering warbling throughout is expected, and almost endearing. “Analyse” easily recognisable as Yorke pathos, and the added rhythms give it a less likely feel.

He is always in experimental mood (which frankly is why his band has the edge), and that flagrant ability to throw in beats and moods that would probably have not made it to a past Radiohead album just heightens the curiosity here. So the skittery beat ticking behind “The Clock” adds intrigue, as does the Massive Attack feel on “Black Swan”. The latter being simply (but explicitly) worded, when not discussing the people who “get crushed like biscuit crumbs.” There will always be deft lyrical twists in anything he does, and this is right up there.

More offbeat is “Skip Divided”, and like a kid brother to ‘Kid A’ (yes, that weird), but the imagery is still visible – if only to picture Yorke as a lap dog. (A Yorkie presumably.) After that, “Atoms For Peace” has the easy synth sounds of Royksopp or Air, matched with a remarkably upbeat sentiment. Darker, meaner, more complex is “And It Rained All Night”. He is always at his best as the pained, tortured soul, and this is barbed enough to take you into that territory.

The closest to a pop track is “Harrowdown Hill”, which combines a funky bass line, with a splendidly jittery beat. Layered lean vocals with lovely pools of delicate marshmallow nothingness make it a highlight. That haunting quality leads into the final track, but the subdued yet frantic beat lends the style to a ghost on acid.

This is unlikely to be an album you archive for years to come, and it needs to be viewed in context to what the man himself considers it, and how it actually sounds to the rest of us. It’s a quirky side-project of ideas that he had lolling around in his head for a while. It’s a sonic doodle. Nothing more, nothing less.

That’s not to say that it doesn’t have inspiration (naturally it does), just that you need to accept it for what it is, and not what you want it to be. It’s a snapshot of expression and a reaffirming reason why you bought all those past Radiohead albums after all. The indisputable, indefatigable talent that Uncle Thom has. And for all the intentional unsophistication that is the highlight, you can help but wonder how wonderful it might have sounded like as a full on, lustrous, production number. Like a Radiohead album maybe – and that’s just the point isn’t it.

Neil Chase
Music Editor
heat - this is a geat album

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