Danse Macabre

06/05/2002 | MurkNet | | Album Review
It's difficult to describe The Faint's sound without conjuring up memories of some of the best New Wave bands of the 80's, like Depeche Mode, New Order, Human League, Flock of Seagulls, Duran Duran...and the list goes on. That's not to say that this band sounds exactly like any one of those groups, but rather, they have built on the concepts those great 80's acts established and helped to revive the genre. Some have even given them full credit for its revival, calling them the modern-day guardians of the New Wave sound. The evidence for the revival can be seen in some of the synthpop acts on the scene today, as their influences are pretty obvious, at least to those of us who were listening to some of the above mentioned groups way back when. Whether or not The Faint themselves are responsible for the revival is irrelevant; what matters is that they are one of the best sounds out there within that genre.
Hailing from Omaha, Nebraska, the band started out with a more indie-folk approach, playing coffeehouses and recording in their garage. However, they've evolved and added members to the original lineup, including a guitarist who formerly played with a death-metal band. Synthesizers, guitar, bass, and drums (yes, real drums!) are all part of the sound, however, the electronic sounds definitely lead the others across the musicscape. Their latest album, Danse Macabre, has a decidedly dark melodic sound that is highly evolved from their original work. The Faint goes against the grain of what they see in the mainstream; although there are definitely similarities between the songs on this album and some of the synthpop acts today, they still have their own distinct sound. The melodies are mostly upbeat and have a layered feel, while retaining a shadowy air to them; the lyrics also reflect a bleak tone. The opening track, "Agenda Suicide," had the feel of an anti-corporate hell anthem from the first time I listened to it, and upon seeing the accompanying video, it was confirmed. As the chorus intones, agenda suicide, the drones work hard before they die/and give up on pretty little homes. With other tracks titled "Let the Poison Spill from Your Throat" and "Posed to Death," you start to get the idea that while some of the music might be bippity-boppity, this ain't no bubblegum pop. Lead singer Todd Baechle has been quoted as saying, "We always try to create a dark, flashy mood for dancing. That's what we do, and we hope people dance." I'm not sure I'll be hearing any tracks from Danse Macabre being played at the local goth club anytime soon, though, because the folks on the dance floor might not know how to react to However, one can hope, and keep requesting!
Despite their somewhat gloomy musical disposition, the band appears to have a great sense of humor, as evidenced by their nearly naked stage antics recently while on tour supporting the band No Doubt. (As reported earlier on Murknet; you can read the story here. This is a group that likes to venture into unfamiliar territory and shake things up a bit, and they've certainly accomplished that on both the album and their current tour.
I really love this album, and can listen to it several times over without tiring of it. I'm hoping for more great sounds from this band in the future. If you are a fan of synthpop, electronica, or, like me, are a child of the 80's who just can't get enough of those old school synthesizer sounds, this is an album you will definitely want to check out, soon!
Danse Macabre

Danse Macabre

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