By Luigi Sibona
2017 seems to be trying hard to make amends for 2016’s shit-show of a year and new a Nine Inch Nails EP straight out of the gate isn’t a bad way to go about it. Announced by industrial luminary, Trent Reznor and his rotating Nine Inch males (to coin a horrific moniker), a snappy week before it dropped, ‘Not The Actual Events’ is the most exciting NIN output in over a decade.
Not to discredit the likes of ‘Hesitation Marks’ (which people seem quick to these days) but there was an airy sense of Reznor-centric experimentation to such records that perhaps didn’t inspire or innovate the way ‘The Downward Spiral’ or ‘The Fragile’ did. With this new five track EP of all things, NIN are back at their fevered, pulsating best and it totally rocks!
Opening with ‘Branches / Bones’ we’re back in the heavy pop beats of ‘Pretty Hate Machine’. There’s a skittish energy to the production that runs through the whole EP, this isn’t the NIN to be wallowed in, this is the stuff to writhe and thrash to. Nowhere is this clearer than on ‘The Idea of You’, the penultimate cut. It’s got a backbeat that hooks like the best of them and when it all crashes down you just wanna’ get up and run. Like the best Nails tracks, Reznor fuses accessible dance beats with an angry, oily heaviness. Listen to this one LOUD.
This is a little EP that feels big. The songs are big, the production is big and it feels like a big moment for Nine Inch Nails in this decade. You’re not out of the wood yet 2017, but with more new NIN promised this year we’re ready to enter you with cautious optimism (take that how you will).