A stop-gap, a brave move or the warm-up for the main event? It was hard not to think a combination of all three on hearing that Thom Yorke planned to release an album before Radiohead's new one emerged later this year.
And while Yorke stressed he didn't want to hear the word 'solo' in relation to this project, 'The Eraser' does have two of the hallmarks of such albums: it's nowhere near as good as what he does with the band and it's a triumph for dull over interesting.
The opening title track's combination of electro chills and a warm-sounding chorus promises much for the rest of the album, but 'The Eraser' goes downhill by the halfway point and is a slog by the close.
Much of the problem is its predictability: the pace never changes; the blips and beeps have been done far better by others - including Radiohead themselves - and there's no light to offset the darkness. A summer barbecue album it isn't.
It's difficult to listen to 'The Eraser' and not conclude that it was released in the wrong way - with a fanfare, when it would've been better suited as free download tracks on Radiohead's website. That way it would've had a DIY feel, a different energy associated with it and, perhaps, a longer life.
This way it is, at best, a curiosity.