While many married couples fill their downtime with weekend brunches, landscaping projects, and trips to Ikea (beware the meatballs), it’s pretty easy to imagine that Nine Inch Nails bandleader Trent Reznor and his wife, Mariqueen Maandig, spend all their date nights holed up in a home studio working on moody industrial music.
The couple’s initial release as How to Destroy Angels, a self-titled EP that came out in 2010, revealed a surprisingly fully formed and fun-sounding side project that helped brighten the early days of NIN’s hiatus. Though the band’s new full-length, Welcome Oblivion, doesn’t quite capture the excitement of that first taste, it’s a much more nuanced effort.
Indeed, the album’s most captivating moments are those that stray farthest from Reznor’s comfort zone: the earthy acoustic tones of “Ice Age” and the sultry Serge Gainsbourg-style verses of “Too Late, All Gone.” But at a distended 65 minutes, much of which is taken up by songs that come across like NIN remixes paired with female vocals (“How Long”), Oblivion overstays its welcome.
Playlist picks: “Ice Age” “Too Late, All Gone”