[Text/Photos by Andrew Parks; slideshow available here]
Let’s get one thing straight here: We dig you guys. We really do. Hell, we have for a good seven years now.
Case in point: our editor was courted by his longtime girlfriend at a notorious Making Time party headlined by The Faint–notorious because people were going nuts. So nuts, in fact, that your set was stopped several times due to speakers falling like the anvils in a Loony Tunes short.
That’s why self-titled‘s taken it upon ourselves to share what’s been bothering us about your career path over the past couple years. Basically, think of us as your better half–someone who wants this relationship to work, but is fully aware that drastic changes are necessary to do so.
What sort of changes, you ask? Well for starters, let’s forget Fasciination ever happened. Except for maybe “Get Seduced”–that one’s got potential. And some serious “you sunk my Battleship!” action to boot. Other than that, your fifth LP is full of ideas but lacking clear, immediate hooks.
Nothing sticks, you know? Wait, of course you do. How could you not when a sold-out Webster Hall crowd (nearly 1,500 people) kept ignoring nearly all of your new songs, waiting patiently for a prickly, pointed rendition of “Glass Danse” or “Posed To Death”–songs that make us want to dance like some Philip K. Dick-quoting electro punk, songs that have some serious oil-streaked blood pumping in their pistons. Something tells us that’s why you opened with a fresh cut (the go-nowhere groove and flimsy falsetto passages of “Mirror Error”), followed it with a slew of fan favorites (“The Conductor,” “Your Retro Career Melted,” a beat-hammering, mic-singeing “Agenda Suicide”), and then stuck more Fasciinating selections somewhere in the middle. That way we had no choice but to struggle through awkward train-wreck tracks like “Psycho.” Because “Worked Up So Sexual” and “Paranoiattack” lurk at the end of this dark, dark tunnel, and for now, they’re worth the wait.
To summarize, here is most of your set list from Saturday night–we didn’t recognize a couple songs because self-titled shelved Fasciination after giving it repeated chances last summer–with an asterisk placed next to the songs we think you should keep in your repertoire …
The Faint, Webster Hall, 4.11.09:
Drop Kick the Punks*
Your Retro Career Melted*
Machine in the Ghost
Worked Up So Sexual*
The Geeks Were Right
Oh, and don’t forget the certified jams that need to elbow their way back into your sets, every single damn night: “Victim Convenience,” “Let the Poison Spill From Your Throat,” “Posed to Death” and an obligatory breather, the Aphex Twin-aping “Ballad of a Paralysed Citizen.”
Now, for some more evidence of the fiery band that’s being held back by aimless, over-baked songwriting …