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July 31, 2006 | by  | in Music |
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Thom Yorke: The Eraser

The Eraser is Thom Yorke’s first outing without the support of his band, Radiohead. I didn’t really know what to expect here, and was pleasantly surprised to find that Yorke has changed his vocal approach on The Eraser. He sings in a deeper, more rounded voice than usual, making those signature moments where his falsetto does rise above the murk that much more powerful.

Yorke’s voice is backed by an “out of the box” production approach here, all tinny, clicking beats and dense, buzzing electronics, seemingly dropped straight out of the default audio software found on the latest Apple computer. Interestingly, Yorke wrote the lyrics very rapidly, almost as an afterthought – the electronic material that embellishes these songs had been in existence for a long period of time beforehand, compiled on a laptop during tours and in moments of Radiohead inactivity.

Thankfully all of the tracks are fully formed. This is probably due in large part to the guidance of longtime producer Nigel Godrich, who insisted on an album of “songs” rather than a self-indulgent dabble n electronica. The songs on The Eraser are in a way more conventional than much of Radiohead’s recent work, which has long since left the verse/chorus song structure behind in the name of reinvention.

The Eraser is a wonderful listen, and it is almost a relief to hear Yorke’s voice clearly again, untouched by electronic augmentation or the textural shrouding evident on Radiohead’s recent releases. Even though the album is a brief one, it showcases his unique voice more strongly than any release since The Bends, and, coupled with some of his most open and heartfelt lyrics, makes it an interesting piece in the yet unfinished puzzle that makes up our generation’s most important band.

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