Nine Inch Nails
4 out of 5 Stars
A flurry of buzz surrounds “Year Zero,” the fifth studio LP for Trent Reznor and NIN. However, it isn’t concerning the music, which is a huge deal considering this is the best NIN album in 13 years.
Rather, the marketing and concept of the album have been drawing the most attention. There is a warning on the back of the CD case reading: “Consuming or spreading this material may be deemed subversive by the United States Bureau of Morality. If you or someone you know has engaged in subversive acts or thoughts, call.” and an 866 number is given, which if called leads to an ominous automated phone message.
This is all part of the concept, which is of a paranoid and angry look at life in 2022 United States.
The concept fits the songwriting on the album well, which is overwhelmingly livid and politically charged, leaving no doubt that Reznor is not a fan of the current administration.
Musically, the band continues to redefine boundaries when industrial, heavy metal and even some hip-hop crash together amid a flood of electronic textures and layers of sound.
Note: After you play the CD for a while, it turns from black to white from the heat of the CD player. It changes back after time.
Key Tracks: “The Beginning of the End,” “The Good Soldier,” “Meet Your Master”
“Everyday I Said a Prayer for Kathy and Made a One Inch Square”
3.5 out of 5 Stars
It’s been a long time since we heard from Wheat. The band’s last album found them signed to a major label for the 2003 release of “Per Second, Per Second, Per Second . Every Second,” a dynamic album of sheer pop-rock bliss combined with strong songwriting.
Sadly, the label did not adequately support the band. Back again almost four years later, the band has returned to being the low key, mid-fi collective that they started out as.
This set of songs is decidedly more somber than their last, reflecting the changes and trials of the past few years.
The result is a set of shimmering, indie-pop gems that feature layered vocals, overdubs and meticulous attention to detail.
But what it lacks in terms of mainstream pop sensibility it makes up for in overall luminance.
Wheat’s members have gone and made an album for themselves and in the process has rediscovered who they were. To some it may seem a bit selfish, but the album works really well. And I can’t help but applaud them for it.
Key Tracks: “Little White Dove,” “Move = Move,” “Round in the Corners”