Monday, July 24, 2006

Album Review

Wow, three months since I last posted. Hmmm. Well here's a recent piece, a review of "The Eraser" by Thom Yorke.

Having given this a listen (was gonna go for two, but you'll see why I didn't) I will start off with what I think is useful information. If you can find this on sale, or get somebody to make a copy for you, take it. If it's not on sale, wait until it is. Worth having = yes. Worth going out of your way or budget to get = no.

Knowing that Thom Yorke is a, um, unique individual, I was expecting something kinda trippy and way out there from "The Eraser". 'Cuz old Thom is kinda trippy and way out there. Thing is, I'm finding it's not as out there as I might have hoped. Electronic-y, ambient, Thom spent some quality time with his computer for this one. His voice is the usual quasi-falsetto sometimes whine we've come to expect. First two tracks are quite nice, "Analyse" being an early favorite. Nice keyboard bit in there, and some lovely spiral-y sounds. (I hear in shapes, ok?) The middle - pretty much tracks four through seven - drags on, and in fact, drones on. Take "Skip Divided" as a good example of the droning, "Atoms for Peace", too. As someone who listens to a fair amount of electronic-y music from a variety of genres, I expect that element of repetition. This is by no means even close to house/trance beats, that after five minutes numb your brain. And there's so soul here either, nothing sweaty or grind-y. (Is that even a word? I don't think so.) Anyways, it's planned and calculated, and is an interesting combination of singing over an electronic base, which doesn't always happen, or doesn't happen well.

You won't mistake this for a Radiohead album, no chance of that. Radiohead has a unique ability to showcase individual band members, who are remarkably remarkable in their own right, within each track. "The Eraser" is quite sparse at times, really, and you can image Thom sitting at home in his bedroom, laptop in hand, putting this together. I wanted to listen through twice before writing this, however this is not an album that lends itself to repeat immediate listenings. I think it would fade away into the back of your brain if you did that, by the third track you wouldn't even be hearing it anymore. If "The Eraser" had a color, it would be gray, with a pinstripe here or there. Thin pinstripes. (Apparently I hear in colors too.)

Things pick up a bit at the end with "And It Rained All Night", and the last two songs are like the first two. Lovey boop-boop-beep aspect to the last one. A decent opening, a good close, but the middle drags. Not the first album to experience this, and certainly not the last. Definately worth a few listens.

3.5/5 stars