Review: Jack Foley
NINE Inch Nails' frontman, Trent Reznor, describes the band's
first album in five years as one of their most deeply-personal
records to date.
What's more, it takes risks by being accessible, delivering singles
that make it easy for listeners to latch on to.
It followed a period of intense self-investigation and subsequently
startles with its clarity, juxtaposing some startling moments
of renewed vigour with quieter moments of introspection.
Take the first two tracks, for instance.
All The Love In The World is a desperately brooding
affair that builds slowly to its aching chorus without ever unleashing
any of its pent up fury (the tingling piano and atmospheric bassline
provide a haunting presence throughout).
You Know What You Are, however, is a full on assault
on the world, driven by Reznor's tortured vocals and lyrics such
as 'don't you fucking know what you are? You better take a good
look because you're full of shit'.
With its warped, electro-tinged guitars and tidal wave drum rolls,
it's one of several records that recall the brashness of some
of their biggest singles (Head Like a Hole being the
most obvious example).
Another of these is Getting Smaller, a fast and furious
guitar anthem that recalls the best of the back catalogue, while
also standing up to comparisons with the likes of Dave Grohl's
The album is at its best, however, when delving into so-called
New single, The Hand That Feeds, is certainly one of
the more commercially accessible the band has delivered in ages,
as well as deeply political.
In a recent interview, Reznor said that he wanted to resist too
much world commentary, but had become so 'irritated and fed up
with the political situation in America' that it just slipped
in - hence emotive lyrics such as 'what if this whole crusade's
a charade, and behind it all there's a price to be paid for the
blood on which we dine, justified in the name of the holy and
Elsewhere, Only hints at a retro-style that is becoming
common-place in American music, but emerges triumphantly as a
self-expose of how Reznor sees himself.
While the slow-building Right Where It Belongs is a
genuinely tender moment, fuelled by some delightful piano that
feels all the better for arriving after some of the heavier anthems.
Forthcoming single, Every Day Is Exactly The Same, is
another belter, delivering Nine Inch Nails fans everything they
could wish for and more from an NIN anthem.
And UK fans are in for an extra special treat as well, given
the quality of the bonus tracks, Home and Right Where
It Belongs (in a different, even more intimate format), which
bring the album to a memorable finale.
So while Reznor may be trepidatious about the commercial nature
of the album, he has little reason to be.
With Teeth is a masterful return that has plenty to
delight the die-hard fans while reaching out to a much wider army
of listeners - especially if they've been impressed with the latest
efforts from Queens of the Stone Age and Foo Fighters.
It may be personal, but it proves that one of the most influential
bands of recent years has lost none of its bite.
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