Sound — 8
"The Eraser" doesn't sound like a Radiohead record. Sure, there are similarities--the biggest, of course, is Yorke's frail, paranoid vocal delivery. Besides that, however, this is a CD that manages to stand apart from the band's catalog. The greatest difference is how it feels. This isn't an album that completely envelopes and embraces the listener like, say, 2000's "Kid A" or 2001's "Amnesiac." The set is cold, strange, sparse and very distant, even by Yorke's standards, as the vocalist refuses to really invite fans into his world. Thus, the listener becomes a voyeur, peering through a few peepholes and trying to make sense of all that is going on. In a message sent to Radiohead fans, Yorke said that the album would include "more beats and electronics." He makes good on that promise basically from the very start of "The Eraser." The album begins slowly with the bare title track, which mingles simple, sharp keyboard work with minimal electronics, and then continues to build as the beats shoot into overdrive on "Analyse" and "The Clock."
Lyrics — 6
"Black Swan" is the catchiest and most widely accessible moment on "The Eraser." In fact, this song sounds like it could be a radio hit, if the lyrics weren't almost entirely built around the F-bomb. Not surprisingly, that poppy track is immediately followed by the oddities "Skip Divided" and "Atoms for Peace," the latter of which includes the humorous line "I want to eat your artichoke heart."
Overall Impression — 7
In all, "The Eraser" underscores two things. The first is just how important the other Radiohead guys are to the band's sound. The second is that Yorke can make it with or without them. If it were lost or stolen I might buy it again.