Nine Inch Nails
Nine Inch Nails
Keeping to his leisurely release schedule, Trent Reznor offers the fourth NIN album proper 16 years after the first, Pretty Hate Machine, and six after the last, The Fragile.
Between records, Reznor has been battling his dark side - psychological problems and various addictions. With Teeth kicks off with All the Love in the World, a riposte, delivered from the fading limelight, to Reznor's many imitators ('No one's heard a single word I've said/They don't sound as good outside my head'). It begins pensively, with an insipid drum machine beat punctuated by soft piano, before accelerating into a more characteristic stomp, setting us up nicely for the rest of the disc.
On Only, Reznor speak-sings his way forward, mischievously picking at his scabs and wallowing in all manner of self-loathing. You Know What You Are, meanwhile, represents the truculent, teeth-gnashing side of NIN, given extra might in this case by the ubiquitous Dave Grohl on drums.
Single The Hand That Feeds sees Trent doing industrial-strength Depeche Mode karaoke. Getting Smaller, the record's punkiest track, is the hyperactive best mate of the Pixies' Planet of Sound. And Beside You in Time operates in the same trancey sphere Six By Seven has preferred of late.
The disc ends with the tortured balladry of Right Where it Belongs, wherein the piano regains centre stage before the song evolves into an updated Hurt, the epic closer from 1994's The Downward Spiral that an ailing Johnny Cash later covered to great effect. All in all, With Teeth paints by usual NIN numbers, but, crucially, uses a slightly lighter hue - a dirty grey, perhaps, rather than the usual pitch black.