Thu, Aug 7, 2008 (midnight)
Say this for The Faint: They don’t sweat the trends. The Nebraskans went retro-new wave in the late ’90s, way before anyone was gushing over Hot Hot Heat, Fischerspooner or Infadels, and they’re still futzing with their synthesizers a decade later, well after tastemakers have written those peers off entirely.
Not everything has stayed constant on planet Faint. The five members work far slower than they used to—Fasciinatiion is just their second full-length since 2001—and they’ve ditched Omaha label Saddle Creek for their own startup imprint, blank.wav. Nevertheless, The Faint’s latest batch of tunes plays a lot like the previous set, and the one before that, and the one before that—electro-charged pop that’s sorta Euro-trashy and fairly disposable but a heck of a lot of fun to bounce around to.
At times, the revelry comes enveloped in pseudo-sinister Depeche Mode-esque shadows (“I Treat You Wrong,” “A Battle Hymn for Children”); at others, vocalist Todd Fink actually tries to slip in a consequential-sounding word or two, be it about celebrity worship (“Get Seduced”) or, oddly, pre-natal development (“Fish in a Womb”). By far, though, The Faint sounds best when it stays true to its inner Duran, unleashing hyper ditties—“The Geeks Were Right,” “Psycho,” “Forever Growing Centipedes”—that nightclub DJs should run toward with great haste. Then again, they might as well take their time; it’s not as if The Faint are going neo-soul anytime soon.
The bottom line: ***