It’s been about two and a half years since HTDA’s first EP and since then Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, two of the core members, have been doing their duties as composers for David Fincher’s last two films.
The problem with this return, then, to the side project Reznor formed with his wife back in 2010, is that Ross and Reznor still feel very much as if they are still in ‘soundtrack’ mode.
The first EP showcased a great eclectic mix of pop, electric, and rock music and each song felt as though it had a beginning, middle and an end.
That isn’t the case here, and many of the 6 songs, particularly ‘Ice Age’ and ‘The Reason Of Sleep Produces Monsters’, rely on loops which steadily grow without really blossoming into anything climactic.
That isn’t to say there isn’t anything worth listening to here.
To the contrary, ‘Keep it Together’ is a solid stand alone track that is pushed forward with an icy electronic beat and moodily echoed guitar. Second track ‘Ice Age’, while a little overlong, is the first real song to showcase singer Mariqueen Maandig’s haunting voice over a playful little looped banjo(?) pick.
There is certainly a lot to listen to here and, as always, the execution of each song is played out flawlessly and precisely.
Its main weakness is that it is just not as good as the first EP. The songs are lacking the punch and raw energy that ‘Parasite’ had, or the danceable drum beats that ‘Fur-lined’ provided.
This collection relies more on the atmospherics that were heavily experimented with on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo soundtrack, and less on the simpler (and funkier) sound structures that were featured on that first EP.
It’s certainly an interesting listen then, and is definitely going to be a win for electronic aficionados and long time Reznor followers.
But it will have a hard time finding an audience elsewhere.
Considering that the first EP was not only better but is still available as a free download from the band’s main website, you should probably listen to that instead.
It’s a great EP, and it’s a fiver cheaper than this markedly less successful follow-up.