An Omen

Nine Inch Nails fronted by a hot femme singer? Why didn't anyone think of it sooner? That's exaggerating the MO of this electro-pop collective (Trent Reznor, his wife, Mariqueen Maandig, NIN cronies Atticus Ross and Rob Sheridan), but not entirely. Clocking in at 30-plus minutes, this debut EP is a small masterpiece of downtempo sound sculpture, finely detailed and often as gorgeous as it is discomforting. "I feel the skin that separates us start to fade/And when I lie on top of you, I'm afraid," Maandig intones over a crushingly low frequency bass line on "Keep It Together," her ghost-babe vocals joining Reznor's butch croak near the end for a night-sweat duet. The semi-acoustic "Ice Age" sounds like Beck and Tom Waits conjuring a Stevie Nicks song. But imagine its antsy melody, swarming groove and bleak verses presented in Reznor's usual mode – howling industrial psychedelia – and his imprint is unmistakable. More, please. 

Listen to 'An Omen'

From The Archives Issue 1170: November 22, 2012