The Attraction to All Things Uncertain

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Chris Vrenna has accomplished quite a lot since leaving his position as drummer for Nine Inch Nails. As a producer, he's worked with a diverse range of artists who includes David Bowie, Marilyn Manson, Cold, and Xzibit. As a remixer, he's lent his knob-twiddling talents to U2, Nelly Furtado, and Weezer. And now, in Tweaker's The Attraction to All Things Uncertain, he has his first solo project. But you can't help comparing his sound to that of ex-boss Trent Reznor. Eerie ambient atmospheres, haunting synth sounds that lend the music a gothic sort of appeal, industrial-style beats that land just this side of funky, and occasional blasts of noisy, distorted guitar: These are Reznor's stock-in-trade, and this album shows Vrenna soaked up quite a bit from his apprenticeship with NIN. That said, while not quite as effective as Reznor's best work, Vrenna does add a few twists along the way to give The Attraction to All Things Uncertain a unique appeal. Guest vocals by David Sylvian lend the opening track, "Linoleum," an accessible feel somewhere between David Bowie and U2 that's sorely lacking in the album's slower spots. Shudder to Think's Craig Wedren also drops in on two tracks, lending his sensitive vocals to help tell the conceptual tale about a man named Elliott, who struggles through life dealing with disillusionment and identity struggles. Ultimately, the vocal tracks (including one featuring Will Oldham) are far more effective, as Vrenna's electronic noodling isn't quite innovative enough to carry the album's momentum on its own. Still, an impressive debut effort.

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