166 of 191 people found the following review helpful
How to disappear completely,
This review is from: The Eraser (Audio CD)Warning to all Radiohead fans: if electronic music turns you off, you'd best avoid this first solo album by the band's frontman Thom Yorke. Not only is it alomost completely electronic, but much of it has a mildly glitchy quality. Further, most of it isn't at all danceable (of course, I still don't get how people dance to say, drum n' bass, but they do--which is another matter entirely).
However, if you're the type of person who can easily get into the chilly, synthetic soundscapes of modern electronica, or if you just like the persona that Yorke has made for himself over the years, then this is the type of thing you'd dig. "The Eraser" is low-key electronic pop of the highest order, perhaps comparable to Radiohead songs such as "Idioteque" or "The Gloaming," but really closer to Bjork's "Homogenic" album. While this is definitely not the overwhelming masterpiece that many Radiohead fans seem to demand with each new release (only to be disappointed when they discover that it's actually made by mortal men), it's a modest thing, the perfect kind of interim release to tide us over.
Some things, of course, never change. Yorke is as anxiety-ridden and morose as ever. On most of the songs, he's pretty much resigned to being uncomfortable in his own skin. Unlike some of Radiohead's best moments, such as the uber-landmark "O.K. Computer," Yorke is at least seeing himself as part of the problem. "The Eraser" is the story of the "I"; previously, his complaints and harangues were often depersonalized and coldly observed. Some of this could be the work of Trent Reznor's nerdier brother!
A couple of moments are even overtly political. On "Atoms For Peace" he moans, like a mantra, "So may lies, so many lies, so many lies" as a way of referencing the Iraq war. "The Clock" could be about the threat of global warming, but it's way more tuneful than Al Gore. On even the most downbeat moments on the album, Yorke doesn't forget to be melodic. Since his voice is presented here raw and unprocessed (again, unlike much of Radiohead's work), it's easier to concentrate on the tunes.
Actually, since I'm sometimes put off by some of Radiohead's more anthemic tendencies, I appreciate how "The Eraser" steadfastly refuses to get grand or sweeping. Yorke is probably one of the most self-effacing figures ever to gain such an international cult following. To reference one Radiohead title, this album could be an effort to "disappear completely." It's probably ironic, then, that Yorke is now more visible than ever. That's probably this album's greatest flaw: while it almost insists that it's a minor release, a curiousity--it leaves you wanting more.