Thom Yorke

The Eraser (XL)

Thom Yorke's first individual outing is about what one would expect: a glitchy, primarily electronic excursion that mirrors Radiohead's most recent work. The Eraser's dour compositions conjure the icy, detached vibe of Kid A and Amnesiac, and were it not for Yorke's beguiling melodies and consistently compelling, fey falsetto, it would be easy to peg Eraser as a regurgitation of the band's back catalogue. But a closer listen reveals sparser renderings that offer a glimpse at Yorke's sketch pad — what the frontman's songs must sound like before they become radio-ready. Amid a backdrop of assorted arcade noises and claustrophobic frequencies, Yorke delivers dependably pithy, neurotic musings on such standout tracks as "Skip Divided," in which he croons in a noticeably deeper timbre, and "Black Swan" and "Harrowdown Hill," whose slinky bass lines and jazzy backbeats provide a welcome contrast to the album's overall mechanical tone. Eraser is no masterpiece, but it's worth seeking out.
 
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