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‘Eraser’ Head

The Eraser should satiate Radiohead enthusiasts salivating for their favorite band’s forthcoming seventh studio album, which is slated for 2007.

Neither unpredictable nor unrewarding, Yorke’s debut solo outing follows his established MO of asking and answering questions in a cryptic figure eight. But even though every electronic tick, werp, bleep, and scratch is in its right place, Eraser’s nine songs never advance beyond Yorke’s warble and the grayish, filmy backdrop of Nigel Godrich’s production. Synth beats shudder around fractured bass lines in the political inquisition “Harrowdown Hill”; “The Clock” is a slow burn reflux of Tourette’s electronics and teetering guitars; and “Cymbal Rush” adds a few loops that dizzy the senses for a moment.

It’s all very meticulous, and lives up to the rush of breathless blog buzz that preceded the album’s arrival, if you believe in that sort of thing. Yorke even borrows a few clicks and clacks from Radiohead’s unpublished recordings, to sweeten the deal for devotees. But while it’s nice as a signpost in the band’s unfolding saga, Eraser doesn’t do anything to assert itself as a solo album or anything else: Yorke’s individual space is just a cramped alcove off Radiohead’s main room that we didn’t notice before — and might not ever again.

- MacKenzie Wilson


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