Don't blame Chris Vrenna for trying. Other former members of Nine Inch Nails have escaped Trent's inertia, but while they've found relative obscurity or mediocrity (see Guns N' Roses and Filter), Vrenna's solo work as Tweaker seems to strive for real, rarefied electronic artistry. 2001's The Attraction to All Things Uncertain was a credible debut full of astute guest vocals and ambient accessibility, but momentum is lost with a sophomore effort that drifts by in a cough syrup fog, failing to engage the listener on anything but an aesthetic level. Despite a fertile theme (that of nocturnal consciousness and dream states), the muted trip-hop beats (whose "Sell By" date expired with Portishead) that are sprinkled over acoustic picking, industrial pummeling and knob-noodling melancholia prove noteworthy solely from the standpoint of textured production. At best, 2 a.m. wakeup call recalls the occasional (and expected) instrumental fragility of NIN, and at worst, it leaves the borrowed pipes of Robert Smith, Will Oldham and Elysian Fields chanteuse Jennifer Charles with nothing to do but talk over bland down-tempo minimalist pop. A well-intentioned bore, this is nothing more than a disappointing diversion to the eventual rousing of Rip Van Reznor.
KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Matt Hursh

Latest Stories