When The Faint gave us a little democratic vote of what would come next on their MySpace playlist sometime last December, I didn’t think much of it. I glanced at the list of songs I had to choose from and stopped immediately when I came across the never before seen, “The Geeks Were Right”. Seeing this, I made my decision. Apparently I wasn’t the only one. When polls came in, “The Geeks Were Right” took up nearly all the votes. Pretty impressive for a song that, at the time, no one had heard. And one that wasn’t even mastered yet. After a week, the song popped up on the playlist- I was hooked, to say the least. What came out of The Faint in the silence of four years was something I think we have all been waiting for.
With a new album comes change. For starters, as many bands have done this year, The Faint jumped on the bandwagon and left Saddle Creek, a label founded by ex-lead singer of The Faint, Conor Oberst. Why? No idea. However, as you can tell from their MySpace, I do know that The Faint have started their own label, currently titled “Blank.wav.” From what I hear with the new album, I honestly couldn’t be more pleased; although, I think the move from Saddle Creek was a bit brash.
Fasciinatiion opens up with “Get Seduced”, which may not be as enthralling as Wet from Birth‘s opening “Desperate Guys” or Danse Macabre‘s “Agenda Suicide”, but one should keep an ear open nonetheless. Todd Fink’s voice in this album, as heard here or their new single “The Geeks were Right”, is a voice that is very, well, electronic. It almost sounds as if he is speaking through a computer, only picked up by a microphone, leaving us the track we hear now. As chilling and eerie as it is, I still miss the preaching and rousing authenticity of Fink’s voice in songs such as “Glass Danse” or “Birth”. As always, guitarist Dapose is still hidden yet bona fide with a new kick, drummer Clark Bauchle keeps us moving in a much different sequence, and bassist Joel Peterson still helps us along our way, twisting and turning throughout the entire album.
Fasiinatiion wakes me up towards “Fulcrum and Level” (as much as I love “The Geeks were Right”, “Machine in the Ghost” just loses me as a follow up to a single), which reminds me of something that should be in a George A. Romero film, where zombies crawl out of the ground and search for their next meal. What strikes me most about this album is that with all its loose ends and different sounds, it still stays completely true to The Faint’s past. You hear much of the same material on Blank-Wave Arcade as you do on Fasiinatiion, especially with songs such as “Mirror Error” and “Psycho”, both which resemble much of “Worked Up So Sexual” and “Sex is Personal”, respectively.
Closing of the album, “I Treat You Wrong” has many of the keystones found in “Phone Call” or “How Could I Forget” off of Wet From Birth. Last but not least, with a twist, the album ends with a bang with what I consider to be the title’s greatest song. “A Battle Hymn For Children” is a song that is beyond perfection. One where you’ll find all the works of the Faint coming together as one: from their debut Sine Sierra to their last work, Wet From Birth. The word is “epic.”
All in all, Fasciinatiion is more of a reunion to the band’s past, all coming together as one and giving us one hell of a ball. Was it worth the wait? Absolutely. In fact, keep your head up and your eyes open, The Faint is here to stay.