30 Days: 30 Albums | The Faint – Danse Macabre

30-days-30-albums-headerI first heard of The Faint when they were paired with Ladytron on their 2009 tour of The States. I was all over Ladytron with a name like that, so I didn’t miss too many of their moves over the years. The pair-up with The Faint was actually the second time they hit my sleepy mountain town. Local press referred to The Faint as being of the “dance-punk” persuasion and after reading a local writeup of  Matt + Kim prior to their first 2008 concert I realized that writers who were probably half my age were using the code phrase “dance-punk” because they might not know the term “New Wave.” Anyway, The Faint were pretty good, and I enjoyed their set a lot. Enough to buy two of their albums afterward.

Saddle Creek | US | CD | 2001 | lbj37

Saddle Creek | US | CD | 2001 | lbj-37

#17 • The Faint: Danse Macabre US CD [2001]

  1. Agenda Suicide
  2. Glass Danse
  3. Total Job
  4. Let The Poison Spill From Your Throat
  5. Your Retro Career Melted
  6. Posed To Death
  7. The Conductor
  8. Violent
  9. Ballad Of A Paralysed Citizen

As an old guy who was into New Wave when it happened the first time, I certainly have the time of day for a band like The Faint, who work that ’82-’83 action like pros. Personally, I think 1979 was the bomb, so The Epoxies were the noveau New Wave act par excellence for me, but The Faint take as their touchstone, the 1982-83 template, which was, lets’s face it, the last real hurrah for this kind of music before the rot set in. What is delivered here are nine punchy tunes heavily built upon synths and drum machines, yet also salted by guitars and the occasional real drum [if I’m not mistaken] for some necessary contrast.

“Danse Macabre” was apparently the band’s cornerstone album, such that it was re-released last year in a DLX RM! Yow! Pretty awesome for a band out of Omaha! That they have managed to thrive in the breadbasket of the midwest with such an angular, spiky sound warms the cockles of my heart. The songs here are largely brief, get-in-and-get-out-under-the-cover-of-night dispatches from the Berlin clubland of your mind. There’s enough variance of tempo to leave one wanting more after it departs on the downbeat, cello kissed “Ballad Of A Paralysed Citizen.”

Throughout the album, vocalist Todd Fink sings the tunes with a petulant air reminiscent of Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day, which is almost exactly the right comparison to make, since The Faint evoke the vintage feel of primeval Ministry ca. “With Sympathy” in almost precisely the same way that Green Day were the Buzzcocks for their generation. One area where the band perhaps go overboard is on the application of vocoder abuse to Fink’s vocals. Personally, I think a little vocoding goes a long way, and they hit those plugins pretty hard on this album. But “Danse Macabre” isn’t content with replicating vintage “New Music” whole cloth. Contemporary touches like the occasional breakbeat assure the listener that it is not, in fact, 1983 after all.


– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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