The Faint

BY Joshua OstroffPublished Oct 1, 2004

Their music may sound like it was birthed in Brooklyn, but this synth-rock quintet hails from the hills of Omaha, Nebraska. No matter, their short, sharp and electro-shocked new album Wet From Birth is pretty universally enjoyable. Daring to kick off with a violin solo on "Desperate Guys” — a clipped dance floor mover during which lead singer Todd Baechle, in his best M. Doughty-voice, croons about ignoring a female fan while applying makeup by the merch table — the album shows little of the self-consciousness of rock bands who dabble in electronics. Maybe because it doesn’t feel like dabbling — there are plenty of air guitar moments on hand, but the retro-future ’80s synths and concussive techno beats so dominate that the straight-forward guitar number "Drop Kick the Punks” is the track that feels tacked on. Though the album clocks in at only just over a half hour, Wet can get ridiculously propulsive, as on the final minute of album highlight "How Could I Forget,” which yanks the listener along until climaxing with rave-era intensity, abandoning the lyrics under a synth tidal wave. The Faint might not offer a particularly innovative sound, but the sexy swagger with which they pull off their dance-rock conventions is undeniable.

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