Welcome Oblivion

Trent Reznor has always been a solitary mandroid. But the Nine Inch Nails auteur's new band feels like a real partnership, with Reznor (and NIN assist men Atticus Ross and Rob Sheridan) handing lead vocals to his wife, Mariqueen Maandig, for an album of architecturally perfect, slow-slither electro pop. "When I lie on top of you, I'm afraid," she murmurs over tortured bass whir and goth whale noises on "Keep It Together." On "We Fade Away," phrases like "We decimate, eradicate" get whisper-chanted amid wounded-EKG bleat, ice sheets of ambient noise and what sounds like Reznor's buried voice, asking, "Am I just talking to myself?" For once, the answer is no.