Thom Yorke – The Eraser, Review
I often wonder about what it would be like if I met Thom Yorke. Here we have someone who has made such a profound impact on music as the lead singer of Radiohead, placing them in an alternative genre of their own with experimental, wonderful sounds that assault the ear drums. I've loved Radiohead since OK, Computer, and I downright wish I'd listened to them more before then, but now I'd have to say they're probably my favourite band. However, if I met Thom Yorke, I think I'd find him quite disturbing.
Of course, this isn't a new feeling. Thom Yorke is probably the main creative force behind Radiohead, and so you could expect a "solo" album to lend much a similar sound, and it shows through. The Eraser would not sound out of place somewhere inbetween Kid A and Amnesiac, not quite getting to the rockier stages of the latter but with a more refined, creeping sound than the former. This is, of course, not a "solo" album, but the result of Thom Yorke sitting for a day with his laptop and a whole bunch of samples from Radiohead's sessions over the past few years and thinking "Yeah, I should probably use this to do something wonderful".
Except Thom Yorke wouldn't think that. He'd think "Fuck Bush", or something.
And yet, this album somehow doesn't reach the eclectic heights of Kid A, and you struggle to put your finger on why. There's something missing that would put this in the As Good As Kid A category, and maybe it is the rest of the band's influence that is shining through. The one thing you wouldn't expect from a Thom Yorke record would be for it to sound nervous, but it does seem that way.
You can't really take each track on its own though, you have to sit back, take a cup of tea in hand and just let it wash over you a bit. Whereas other albums demand to be listened to over again, this begs for background, atmosphere, and if you take it in that way, it's simply wonderful. The first single will be Harrowdown Hill, according to Yorke, but it seems so undignified to remove it away from its home on the album. If you don't have 40 minutes to sit and listen to it all, then I'd say don't start - there's no Everything in its Right Place here to save you.
If you loved Kid A, you'll love this. If you didn't, you won't, but if you're undecided, then don't expect this to be an effortless listen – you have to treat it carefully and give it a chance, and it'll pay you back double when the brilliance shines through.
8 out of 10
The Eraser was released yesterday (10th July), stupid.
Radiohead are touring at the moment, but if you don't have a ticket, don't expect to get one now…
The Eraser was released Monday, July 10th in the UK.