The songwriting skill of a man whose heralded generations and defined genres, laid bare.
To take on a tour de force like Thom Yorke of the legendary and living Radiohead in writing is something of an endeavour. What the man and the band have done for modern music is quite immeasurable and to try and sum up the mark they've made, the new directions they've created and the influence they've spread over contemporary style in a brief introduction is almost futile. –We'll just say this, the effect they've had is HUGE!
So, it's a cause for excitement when something new from their camp is announced. The promise of the next Radiohead album has been tickling the cockles and itching the taste buds of all the fans out there, but before its release next year this gem has popped up. Thom Yorke's first solo (although he doesn't like that word) record: The Eraser.
Now, you're expecting me to say 'And it's a triumphant masterpiece of minimalist beauty, built on Radiohead's structural scaffolding, yet distinct and fresh and different enough to make you even forget a new record from the band is on its way.' Well, OK... It's a triumphant masterpiece of minimalist beauty, built on Radiohead's structural scaffolding, yet distinct and fresh and different enough to make you even forget a new record from the band is on its way.
From the opening title track, with its cut 'n' paste piano chords, through the eight thereafter, not at a single point are you left questioning the release, rather you're lost in the cool techno-tinged world of Thom Yorke's groovy beats, ingenious instrumental arrangements and unique and formidable voice.
There are moments here that rival the best parts of OK Computer, Kid A and Hail To The Thief for pure audio pleasure, none more so than the magnificent and harrowing chorus of 'Atoms For Peace', a certain highlight of this faultless record. The way Yorke's vocal reaches notes you didn't expect at times you don't see it coming is completely numbing on first listen, and on subsequent listens you sit there and wait for it to come in, and every time it does, and every time you feel blessed and revitalised and brilliant. The song is outstanding.
Each tune is absolutely awesome and as a collective they're monumentally explosive. 'Analyse' could easily have fitted on Amnesiac, its piano and soaring vocals reminding the listener of 'Like Spinning Plates', its ending like 'Pyramid Song'. 'The Clock' too also sounds of that era, reminiscent of 'I Might Be Wrong'. 'Skip Divided' comes as an update on the ideas outlined on some of Com Lag, it's a wonderful fervour of a song that intensifies as it runs into lyrical meandering, 'when you walk in the room it's a terrible mess// when you in the room I start to melt// when you walk in the room I follow you round like a dog// I'm a dog, I'm a dog, I'm a lapdog.' 'A Wolf At the Door' comes to mind.
'Harrowdown Hill' is the track that has been attracting most attention in the press surrounding this album. It's a tale based on the events surrounding the downfall of Dr David Kelly and as a song is as piercing, electrifying and gripping as its subject matter. Truly brilliant stuff. 'Did I fall, or was I pushed?'
Altogether, as if it needs saying, Thom Yorke has produced something in his spare time that shines brighter than anything else out there at the moment. Radiohead can't be overrated, and this is further proof; from one of the most important bands on the planet comes a lone record that has the majesty and prowess of Radiohead, but the unique, tremendous voice and point of view of the one and only Thom Yorke.