Saddle Creek | The Faint | Reviews


Danse Macabre

Author: Georg Gartlgruber
10/13/2003 | | | Album Review
80ies-Synthies and gothic-vocoder-harmonies paired with heavy beats and postmodern electronic trickery - is that the soundtrack to the disco of the apocalypse. I remember buying an EP buy a band I didn't know back when I was a kid because it was cheap and the cover looked cool: the band was called Phantom Limp and "Danse Macabre" has exactly the same kind of cold, industrial atmosphere reeking of housing-projects, unemployment and futile attempts at making the future any better. Maybe that is why I like this records.
Oh boy, step up to a new level of retro! The Faint mix up a cocktail of early Noise-or Industrial bands such as Killing Joke, early Gothic bands which would mean The Cure, of course, and some very modern electronic goofiness. They shake it well and present it in a pseudo-communist-packaging which is somewhere between Vietcong-art and Twenties Dadaism. So, expect some crazy full-blown beats in connection with some 80ies-synthesizer-sounds and vocoder-voice effects. That is great, danceable and as grey and cold as the Eighties really were. Take "Glass Danse", just listen to that one song, and either you'll turn away disgusted or you dance your heart out remembering the worst times you ever had if you are in your thirties now - i.e. these nights during the Eighties spent in underground discos dancing to the coldest atmospherical music possible, which were actually your best times, because you were young then.

In my opinion it is impossible to really nostalgify the Eighties. I mean, it was all about cold war, atombombs, ecological disasters, Chernobyl, yuppies and stupid haircuts. The music was all gothic and heavy on early keyboards and half of the songs were about killing yourself. Or do bands like Joy Division, Fields of the Nephilim or even Sisters of Mercy ever make you happy in any way? Why would anybody bring that back? Because it was fun also. We bathed in the upcoming night, waiting for the apocalypse, when mankind finally destroyed itself. Then music-television came along (in Europe at least) and everybody thought they could become a rockstar and things became better. Well, not better, just more dumb, bland and surface-oriented. But that was exactly what everyone needed - stopping to think about all this stuff. Or how many more songs about spiders crawling over your head could you take? Not a lot, eh?
Maybe The Faint are here to tell us, that things haven't gotten better. That actually, they've become worse. They sing about kids being shot, young woman being choked because they can't pay back loans, about working like bees without ever getting any pay-off, about total jobs and the "appeal" of economic success and so on. All that has changes is that our level of ignorance has gone up. Nowadays a blackmailer has to shoot eleven people to get our attention. Terrorists have to get sevenhundred hostages in a theatre to make the evening news. Anything less gets ignored, because we are more busy watching stupid talkshows or music-videos. Now, some wiseheads speak out the question: "Do The Faint offer any solution?" Well, no. There never was a solution and there never will be. Anyone grown up in the Eighties knows that finally we are all doomed, and I am not only talking about individual deaths, but about the downfall of our whole globalised society. Until then we can just as well be unhappy and dance our hearts and brains out. No Future? Well, not really, but future is something that doesn't affect us now.
Danse Macabre

Danse Macabre

LP / CD / MP3