Reviews

Blank-wave Arcade

10/25/1999 | Delusion of Adequacy | www.adequacy.net | Album Review
Do you remember big hair, often bigger on guys than girls, roller skating around roller-rinks, movies like The Breakfast Club (before they were shown every Saturday on TNT) and the whole mess of emotions, hormones, and trickle-down economics that was the 1980s? I don't mean, have you seen The Wedding Singer, I mean were you alive and functioning when the 70s turned to the 80s and being selfish and emotionally stunted was in again? I remember the 80s, all friggin' 10 years of them. I must say, I wasn't really impressed.

But the music, ah, the music. Now there's something to make you run screaming into the closet and curl up in a fetal position while breathing the sweet scent of mothballs until your ears turn blue just at the thought of. No decade probably has more of an image when it comes to music than the 1980s.

Well, ok, I guess I can't diss the music outright. I remember one New Year's Eve, staying up until midnight with my eyes on the big shiny glass ball on TV and my ears on the local rock station playing their top 99.5 songs of the year. And the number one song? "Walk Like an Egyptian"
won that year, and another year it was definitely "Thriller." Man, the 80s had it down. They were blending in the 70's garage rock, the 60s psychodelia, and the latest and greatest technology into something that made the musicians bigger than life and the music itself stick into yourhead like bubblegum in your hair, just until the next song kicked in, sounding virtually exactly the same.

Well, the 80s are over, thankfully. But, just when you thought you were safe from the relentless boing and bing of synth-rock, along comes an 80s revival. Every band seems to have a keyboardist now and are using them for more than subtle accompaniment. Check out Antarctica for moody synth-rock, or the Superheroes from the Netherlands, or The Faint.

The Faint owe more to Thomas Dolby and Duran Duran, and maybe New Order, than anyone else I can think of. They play that 80s synth-rock with some darker atmosphere, almost combining a gothic nature into the songs without making them sound oppressive. There's some great drum
tracks on this album, making these songs virtually danceable, some fantastic synthesizer sampling and feedback, some killer guitar riffs, all wrapped up in a Dolby-Duran-esque package.

There are some good tracks on here even for those who don't want to hear an 80s revival. "Worked Up So Sexual" is a more modern track (with a Duran Duran synthesizer interlude in the middle, not just sounding like them, but taken from some song I can't remember). "Car Pass in Cold Blood" breaks into some heavy industrial chaotic noise before blending with "Casual Sex." "Sealed Human" sounds electronic.

You've just got to check out The Faint. They're darkly throw-back to a time that no one thought anyone would want to throw-back to. Fun, danceable synth-rock with a dark side. Highly recommended.
Blank-wave Arcade

Blank-wave Arcade

LP / CD / MP3