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Tweaker - 2 am wake-up call
By Tim Byrnes

Chris Vrenna has contributed everything from beats and programming to complete sonic overhaul for everybody from Peter Himmelman to Marilyn Manson to Chuck D. to Bowie. Best known perhaps as the former drummer of Nine Inch Nails, Vrenna has, along with co-producer guitarist Clint Walsh (Jack Off Jill, Dwarves etc) and a raft of heavy guest vocalists/lyricists (Robert Smith, David Sylvain, Hamilton Leithauser, Nick Young and Mellowdrone) come up with this, the 2nd release under the Tweaker name, and a kinder, gentler Tweaker it is. Tweaker's 1st CD "The Attraction of All Things Uncertain" was a programmed like the Borg; monolithic and unsettling in it's mechanical perfection, but possessive of a cold, cold, heart - although I think that was the point of that CD and a lot of Industrial music in general - whereas "2am wake-up call", a hymn to insomnia, cradles it's dark night of the soul in the warm wood of pianos, guitars and the human performance. Vrenna walks a thin line twixt noir and postmodernism, delicately balancing the surreal with the commonplace, the blue cool hum of sleeplessness with the hope of a new day rising.

Sylvain's turn on "Pure Genius" is, too me just that. There's just always been something kind of Lord Byron about David Sylvain to me and his smooth, mannered vocals blend well with the anxious sonics thrown down by Vrenna and company. Robert Smith, while admittedly an acquired taste, shines here on "Truth Is", bringing that lost boy yearning of his into the center of this calm storm. The feeling I get from this CD as a whole, is one of benign isolation. Not so much the ˜us against the world' vibe so common to all things Goth, but more ˜us AWAY from the world....for a time....figuring stuff out, and it's all ok'. A vague reassurance, to be sure, but I'll take my hope where I find it.

As with the more recent work of his former employer Trent Reznor, Vrenna opts for a more solid emotional base this time out. "2 am wake-up call" should never be confused with an episode of Up With People, but it's nice to see a ray of light (if only the moonlight of the sleepless night) coming through these new cracks in those walls that do as much to keep us out as Tweaker in.

CD Info 

Tweaker - 2 am wake-up call
Label: Waxploitation/ Ultimatum 
Release Date: April 20, 2004
Ruby (featuring Will Oldham)
Worse Than Yesterday (Featuring Mellowdrone)
Truth Is  (Featuring Robert Smith)
Pure Genius (Featuring David Sylvian)
Its Still Happening  (Featuring Hamilton Leifthauser)
2 a.m.
Movement of Fear
Sleepwalking Away (Featuring Nick Young)
The House I Grew Up In
Crude Sunlight (Featuring Jennifer Charles)
Listen to samples and Purchase this CD online

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