Reviews

Danse Macabre

Author: Jay DeFoore
08/24/2001 | Billboard.com | www.billboard.com | Album Review
New wave may have peaked in the '80s, but its dark, danceable beats and seedy synthesizer sounds seem poised for a revival in today's climate of over-produced pop banalities. Omaha, Neb.-based the Faint wake up the genre and give it a healthy punk rock kick with "Danse Macabre," the band's third set for indie Saddle Creek.
Picking up where Gary Numan, the Fall, and the Cure left off, the Faint use drum sequencers, analog synths, vocal distortion, and spiky guitars to weave multi-layered songs throbbing with intelligence and angst.
What sets the Faint apart from its peers is singer/keyboardist Todd Baechle's sophisticated lyrical touch, which jumps from tragic first person narrative ("Ballad of a Paralysed Citizen"), to voyeuristic social commentary ("Violent"), to socio-political call to action ("Agenda Suicide") with equal aplomb.
In lesser hands, a full album of synth-driven rock might grow tedious, but the lads in the Faint pile on the surprises. Cello and bowed bass pop up on a handful of tracks, adding an organic texture to the mix that fits well within the album's dark parameters. Baechle runs his vocals through various effects throughout, invoking everything from a faux-British accent to a robotic howl.
Refreshingly sincere and irony-free, the Faint has produced a dark thriller of an album that sounds remarkably contemporary despite its retro framework.
Danse Macabre

Danse Macabre

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