Author: ERIN FRANZMAN
11/01/1999 | The Stranger | Album Review
Blank-Wave Arcade is no less than the most exciting record I've heard all year, and I'm not easily given to such sweeping. But the Faint have made a record that rolled my eyes back in my head the first time I heard it. They're defiantly unreconstructed new wave, as if the yearning synth pop of New Order had crashed like a comet into the wholesome fields of Nebraska and remained structurally sound, without irony or kitsch. In fact, the homage is useful (not imitative) as an audiography of suggested listening, because the Faint not only sound new wave, they sing about the same subjects from the same perspective. Sexual politics, sexual confusion, sexual , and the shades of devotion between sex and love are all considered with the same intellectual weariness and unrelenting , as in "Bizarre Love Triangle" or "Temptation."
Bands like New Order, Squeeze, and Soft Cell traded in chronic failure, which we all know is impossible to pass off on someone else. They preached rejection as the fate and fault of rejected, but that shouldn't stop us from trying again and again. It's pleasure through pain, the very best way to nurse a broken heart. If you're inclined to reflect on rejection while still , against all empirical evidence and in the face of unremitting discouragement, that someday you'll find someone who's right for you, then you'll find Blank-Wave Arcade a sublime tribute to sexual and romantic frustration, revisiting the winningly sweet melodies of new wave synth pop in a thoroughly modern and sophisticated style.