on 23 November 2006
I'd been told not to buy this album by a friend, who said ultimately I'd find myself disappointed.
I don't normally write any product reviews on Amazon but I simply had to for this album, even if I can only convince one undecided shopper to buy this album I can hopefully rest in peace knowing that I've changed somebodys persons world.
The first time I popped the disc in my cd player I gave the album a quick listen through thinking to myself "Hey, this is actually pretty good"
Several months on this album is so much more than that. I have all the Radiohead albums in my CD collection, my favourites being The Bends, Hail to the thief and OK Computer. However, this album really does eclipse them all.
So full of touching, beautiful moments you simply shouldn't miss out on this unbelievable work of art. I stick it on before I go to bed each night and in my dreams get transported to another world, somewhere far away from this universe into the realms of impossibility and beyond.
on 27 May 2007
Prevailing opinion seems to be that electronic music is the future. Mind you that thought has been the same since the 70s. Nevertheless, the mixed reaction to Radiohead's Kid A suggested that we were not quite ready for a popular band to be quite so brave. It felt like listening to the future. Champions of the electro genre such as Richard D James have been around for ages, but have been restricted to that genre. Kid A triggered even 'acoustic' acts such as Travis to open up the laptops - the new millenium had arrived.
2006, and Thom Yorke releases this - comparable to Kid A in many ways but a unique work nonetheless. Its driven, not by beats but by Yorke's human voice and his usual kniving lyrics - if you have seen any of his acoustic performances of the songs from the album you will agree.
I urge you then not to buy this album because of the Radiohead connection, or because its something different, or because it made it onto the Mercury shortlist - buy it as a soulful collection of songs that makes Aphex Twin seem like a thing of the past.
on 10 February 2007
The most interesting aspect of this album is whether, for Radiohead, a solo electronic Thom Yorke album will represent an exorcism, and a break with the recent past of similarly informed Radiohead albums. Simplistic perhaps, as the band are unlikely to regress back to simple guitar based rock, as is the wont of many. Regardless, the bands next step has never been more intriguing.
Interetsing though such questions are, we should not do disservice to The Eraser, which has endured as a fine album, worthy of commendation. To those who yearn for Bends era radiohead, look away, if indeed you're reading this at all, and for others, this is at many times Thom Yorkes most successful set of electronic songs.
The songs are more intimate than recent radiohead work, with Yorkes voice up front in the mix, and the songs are more tuneful and melodic than recent work. Opener The Eraser is jerky, yet anthemic, with a euphoric outro, with subsequent tracks like Analyse and Black Swan grooving inistently. While the middle section is less persuasive, the closing Harrowdown Hill and Cymbal Rush are extraordinary, sparse, building and beautiful in a unique way.
It is this ability to fashion warmth ftom cold musical landscapes that marks out The Eraser as a strong piece of work, and Yorke as one of the pre-eminent musicians at work in the UK today.
on 11 August 2006
Don't get any big ideas! (No pun intended) This album is not for everyone. If I was to compare it to any of the Radiohead albums, I would say soundwise, it's similar to Kid A and some of the more electrical tracks from Hail to the thief.
Thom and long time producer-pal Nigel Godrich (the 6th radiohead member surely??), have carefully put together a flawless record that says exactly what thom's been upto since the HTTT sessions.
The material is totally different to any of the new radiohead songs (As played on their recent European and US tour).
You get 9 or so songs, which one could say remind you of the HTTT track, The Gloaming.
It's all very catchy - you'll be blurting it's lyrics after a few listens and a few listens is what you'll need when getting into this record.
I'm quite pleased for Thom and Nige. They've done really well for themselves.
And no... it's not a 'solo' record!!
on 18 July 2006
First off, this is pure Thom genius. Haunting, melodic. If I have a criticism it's that it's not particularly surprising. If you'd have thought about what a Thom Yorke solo album would have sounded like before you heard it you might well have imagined this record. Which may well be a good thing, hey?
Some dunce gave this album one star and complained that it even came in a 'cheep (sic) cardboard cover'. Having had the luck to have a little inside insight on this project I think you should know that the cardboard was very deliberately chosen for its lack of environmental impact. I also think it's rather more beautiful than the same old plastic crap.
The gorgeous cover's designed by Radiohead collaborator Stanley Donwood BTW, I heartily recommend his book, 'Slowly Downward', also available on this site.
on 5 January 2007
Thom Yorke's Eraser is best viewed as a tangential companion piece to Kid A, in my mind Radiohead's best album. It was that record's Morning Bell that best married Thom Yorke's bare, unprocessed vocals with electronic soundscaping and instrumentation. Those dissatisified with some of Radiohead's tampering with Thom's vocals will enjoy some of the naked intimacy of his voice here, especially engrossing over the headphones. Beginning with the deceptive, faux-naive Chicago house chords of the brilliant title track, you would be forgiven for thinking that this was going to be a miminal affair. But Analyse and The Clock put guitars into the mix for tracks that wouldn't be out of place on Amnesiac, the latter having a passing resemblance to that album's Knives Out. Whereas these tracks err towards drifting ponderousness, Black Swan has a discreet pop sensibility married to I Might be Wrong-style looped guitar loops and layered harmonies.
The best part of the album, however, is its final third, beginning with Atoms for Peace, in which sweet vocals compliment meditative electronics in the mold of early Aphex Twin. The subtle textural shifts and intricate but unfussy production gives an idea of what Massive Attack tried but largely failed to achieve on 100th Window. Better still, Harrowdown Hill tells the story of weapons inspector David Kelly's suicide as an Orwellian tragedy. Despite being one of Yorke's most overtly political songs, it is also one of his most heartbreakingly universal: "We think the same things at the same time / We just can't do anything about it. / We think the same things at the same time / There are so many of us. So you can't count". Cymbal Rush sustains this sombre and elegaic mood to round off a record as accomplished, if not more consistent, than Radiohead's last two. The album's modesty and intimacy is its genius, removed of some of the bombast and histrionics that Radiohead seem to veer towards under the burden of expectation. Viewed independently, this is one of the year's finest electronica albums and one of the most successful cross-over alt-rock / electronica records ever made.
on 6 April 2007
As a huge radiohead fan I was most interested to hear of a Thom Yorke release and soon purchased this album. As most fans listen to this, they probably expect music almost identical to radiohead. This is in some ways quite different from radiohead, take for example the songs "Atoms for peace" and "The eraser", they deliver a different rhythm, melody and are even perhaps shaded lightly with optimism.
I must admit on the first listen to this, I wasn't exactly thrilled. When I first listened, I thought I might end up not liking it, but I then thought- its Thom Yorke, he knows what he's doing!! And, giving it a few more listens all the songs really did click with me. Especailly the last three songs, when I listen to them it can really take me away. I had already bought "harrowdown hill" which immediately lured me into getting this album. This album of course does continue the trademark atmospheric and dark sound, that you'd find with radiohead.
With this album though, I think you either end up loving it or hating it. And I love it, coming in after Ok computer it would would be right up there now in my list of favourite albums. There is no denying that Thom Yorke is a genius, and this album is a perfect example of this.
on 1 September 2006
Gave this beautiful effort 4 1/2 stars since it falls just short of outright perfection. This isn't going to be a long analytical review. I just want to say that if you're a fan of Radiohead and similar music (and if you're not, just don't even bother), trust me: listen to The Eraser a few times, and you won't be able to get it out of your cd player!
Scale of 1-10, my rankings of the tracks are as follows:
"Analyse"--10 (This song is the definition of "beauty". I can't get the damned thing out of my head!)
"Atoms For Peace"--10
"And It Rained All Night"--9.5
In review, there are few albums in the literally thousands in my collection in which I could go through and give scores across the board as high as these to each individual track. Yorke & Godrich have once again demonstrated a higher level of understanding of musical theory with this particular effort. The utilization of crescendo (sp?), for instance, throughout this album is not exceeded by anything I can remember. Yorke's voice is actually a musical instrument, in the truest sense, as his crooning perfectly complements the alienation & urgency expressed throughout the scope of this album.
The bottom line is that you've enjoyed Yorke/Radiohead in the past (especially post-2000), buy the damn album and you will NOT be disappointed. Give it a few tries to sink in, and the beautiful melodies contained within will be haunting you day and night.
on 11 January 2007
My review could be summed up by its title, so to save reading my whole review, take it's advice! However let me put the title of my review in context - I've got fairly eclectic tastes listening to everything from hard DnB, Motown, Funk, Bashment, Hip hop, RnB, Metal, Rock, Indie, Electronica, Reggae, Grime, Garage, Blues, Jazz and Classical. I don't rate this album highly simply because I rate Radiohead and Thom Yorke (although I do), but simply because it is an excellent album, that actually marries together a lot of styles within it. I was given this album as a present at Christmas, and already it's a favourite that has barely been out of my CD player.
For those of you who hate RnB, surprisingly you can find some Timbaland and Nerd-esque programming going on (and it works!), there are hip-hop beats, Boards of Canada style electronic meanderings and more than a nod to Aphex's bleeps as well as a smattering of rock staples (some great, albeit subtle guitar parts) and piano (for the traditionalists who need "proper" instruments).
However to use a cliché, 'the whole is greater than the sum of the parts' and the album is cohesive throughout and has Mr Yorke's distinctive stamp all over it (yipes, more clichés - luckily I'm not a writer!).
The opener is stunning - with piano chords courtesy of a certain Mr Greenwood that have an almost 'dancey' feel to them, especially the staccato progression about 3/4 way through that sounds like it could have been lifted from a Hardcore anthem circa 1992 - but it works!
Analyse has some lovely arpeggio-style piano playing and great melodies and gets stronger as it goes on.
The Clock has a Bashment (ragga) style rhythm track and distorted electronic sounds layered with bass guitar and Thom's voice to great effect. Probably the most 'dance' track on the album.
Black Swan is probably the most `commercial' sounding track on the album; opening in an understated way some lovely slide bass, watch out for profanities. Not the strongest vocal performance on the album, but as stated by many earlier would be excellent single material.
Skip Divided appears to be most peoples least favourite track but it's one of my favourites! Dark, moody and foreboding, with a bass-line that could have come straight off a DnB or Grime track, some great programming, and a slightly different vocal style for Thom.
Atoms for Peace is probably the most uplifting track (musically), and has typically nebulas but somehow evocative lyrics that Mr Yorke is famed for ("I want to eat your artichoke heart // No more leaky holes in your brain, and no false starts"). The track has a simple, scratchy beat and repeated vibraphone-esque motif underpinning a strong vocal. Possibly the best vocal performance on the album?
And it Rained All Night is, for me, one of the strongest tracks on the album musically, opening with industrial sounding drones and an off kilter drum-stick rhythm, then dropping in with a great bass-line and eerie pads over the top and Thom's falsetto sitting well over it all.
Harrowdown Hill opens with a deceptively upbeat guitar that is then put askew as melancholy pads and melodies strike up. Given the subject matter very poignant and another strong vocal.
Which brings us to the closing track Cymbal Rush. Through this track the album ends as strongly as it began, more clichés, but this track is worth the price of entry alone with some beautiful (and haunting) piano playing throughout.
on 18 March 2013
Mellow, electronic/synth based fayre from Radiohead's frontman. Fine for those needing a chillout, ambient sound but look elswhere if you want a bit of pace and energy. The vinyl recording is good quality with reasonable packaging. Not quite up to the sort of packaging standards that Radiohead fans might expect so don't expect lots of marketing extras a la King of Limbs, etc.