The Faint: Fasciination

Fasciination CoverLive at |The Fillmore| 3/30/2009
Love-hate relationships with the future of technology and mankind are rarely as entertaining as this.

With lyrics like “I saw the future, the geeks were right” and song names like the backwardly titled “Machine in the Ghost” you might think Todd Fink was holed-up underground somewhere awaiting our machine overlords from the future. After a four-year break that involved building their own recording studio and setting up their own label (blank.wav), Omaha’s The Faint return with their newest album Fasciination: ten tracks that will give the listener a variety of lyrics to sit back and think about. The subject matter ranges from profoundly transcendental with “Davey knows we all create the world from in our skulls…” and “what was there before the bang/let’s ask the atheists…” to the sarcastically apologetic with “forget the words I said, I was not myself. I never thought you were psycho…,” yet still manage to stay ironically pop-ish, and fresh.

In finding new electronic sub-niches for Fink to attach his sublime “watch what the humans ruin with machines…” and often bizarre “My mother was filled with popcorn…” lyrics to, the band has come a long way sonically from “Glass Danse,” likely from the newfound freedom of having their own label and studio, as well as personal maturation. The squeaky, distorted bass sounds of “Fulcrum and Lever” and the electro-angelic weeping and digital pops of “A Battle Hymn for Children” represent new and eclectic sonic landscapes for the band, but won’t completely surprise, as the sound is still definitively The Faint. The seemingly endless and lethargically rhythmic dance-groove of “Forever Growing Centipedes” and tweaked-out disco-funk anthem “Get Seduced” are sure to get your body moving and are likely to become welcome additions to the band’s already great live shows.

The Faint LiveThe Faint’s ability to seamlessly fuse their sometimes electronic-dance-pop sound with conceptually ambitious and dystopian lyrics still remains the key to their dysfunctional charm. However, it’s not clear the band knows which to highlight more, the undeniable dance-ability of their music or the introspective and un-arguably thought provoking lyrics of their lead singer. Fink’s lyrics this time out show more awareness and sensitivity and seem more heartfelt than previous albums (there is a noticeable down-tick in juvenile sexual references), but there are times when the music’s intensity is overwhelming, making the lyrics seem more subtle than they are. The band faces an obvious problem, become more irresistibly dance-able or lyrically compelling and you inherently diminish the effect of the other. For now, however, it seems The Faint are balancing the two just fine. |The Faint|