Reviews

fulfilled/complete

05/17/2004 | Frontiers | Album Review
If you're waiting with baited breath for the next Faint record (and honestly, what's taking them so long?), here's a little something to tide you over: Broken Spindles is the side/solo project from the Faint's bassist, Joel Petersen, and "fulfilled/complete" is an interesting look into what makes the Faint tick. For those not familiar, the Faint are the Goth gods of the
Lincoln, Neb., music scene centered around the local Saddle Creek label. They dress all in black, favor lots of black eyeliner, and peddle songs about death and destruction. Their sound is like a dark Duran Duran, or a harder, rockier version of Depeche Mode. After their last release, 2001's amazing "Danse Macabre," they were courted heavily by major labels (DreamWorks reportedly offered $2 million for them, but given DreamWorks recent sale, not signing with them was probably a good move), and huge stars like Juliette Lewis and Kelly Osbourne have been spotted geeking out at their gigs. They built their fan base through incessant touring, and their shows are an incredible display of energy, with the band members literally throwing themselves around the stage to the sequenced beats and crazed lighting. "fulfilled/complete," however, could be a glimpse at the band's next album. With most of the instruments played by Petersen, this is definitely a solo project, but it has the indelible stamp of the Faint: It features the same analog-synth sounds, fuzzy basslines, angular guitars, and machine-like drum patterns. The only thing missing is the distinctive vocals. Petersen "sings" all of the parts here, but his voice is not that strong, and has been heavily processed. Even the lyrical content is within the same rangeómore oblique odes to death and darkness. The tunes run together for the most part, giving the effect of being one long piece, and vary between instrumentals like the two piano-based tracks, "Song No Song" and "Practice, Practice, Preach" (the latter featuring a brilliant string-quartet arrangement), and fully realized songs like "Fall In and Down On" and the dancey "Move Away." Broken Spindles is set to tour, so Petersen must be anxious to prove that his baby is decidedly not the Faint Part 2. However, this album just cements the fact that Petersen's presence is a large part of the Faint's appeal. If these are just the rejected songs ideas for his other band, then we're in for a real treat.



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