Album Review
Fasciinatiion - The Faint

During the four years in between 2004's Wet From Birth to now, the Faint left their old label, the Conner Oberst created Saddle Creek, formed their own label, blank.wav, built their own recording studio, and crafted their most paranoid record yet. It continues in the "death by synthesizers" vein and the Faint remain one of the few bands that can get indie boys with tight pants onto the dance floor.

Lead single "The Geeks Were Right" sums it up in a B horror movie way, describing bulging eye balls we can only assume are in glass jars and egghead boys with white thin legs getting all the girls. Although parody, the rest of the album paints a distopian scene that isn't a far removed place in the future, but here and now. "Get Seduced", along with Duran Duran's music video for "Falling Down", the recent John McCain ads, and the mere existence of Perez Hilton, show both our society's obsession with and frustration over those who are obsessed with celebrity gossip (Spears is mentioned all but by name). "Sell us magazines about the stars and watch us stare into the void/What not to wear at the awards...We get seduced so easy." In addition to the song's social commentary, it explodes into a massive Benni Benassi inspired bridge.

Everyone from atheists to astronauts to popes to shamen to Buddha are referenced in "Machine In The Ghost". No matter who you ask about life greatest questions and problems, their answer is all the same, "I don't know". Not only can no one find answers, but no one is satisfied with what they see in the mirror. "Cover up with jewelry or pierce all the parts you've got if the packaging design can fix the contents" Todd Fink mocks on "Mirror Error". "Fulcrum And Lever" sounds like the best Linkin Park impression since Limp Bizkit but remains a trademark Faint track. The records most earnest song is "Forever Growing Centipedes". Electronic music often has a problem expressing softer emotions. After all, how are you supposed to be emotional with blips, bleeps, and a voice that sounds as if it's coming through a phone line? New Order mastered it on a few occasions and the Faint manage it on this track about searching for methods to live forever.

Like all good albums that bemoan the state of our society, Fasiinatiion ends with the anti-war "A Battle Hymn For Children". "We were taught that God prefers the USA...if it's true that God roots for the USA, is every bomb we drop in God's name?" Fink asks. Others' attempts at being anti-war this decade all come up short. Everyone wants to recreate the anger and passion of Vietnam War era protest rock and folk, but without a draft, these attempts come across as too contrived. The Faint's angle however, works. Rather than resorting to Bush-bashing, the look at the religious aspects of a Christian-Islamic conflict and wonder if an all loving God is really on any particular side or if He just wants peace.

All in all, the geeks were right. Though not as Orwellian as Orwell predicted, Fasciinatiion shows how living in our post-modern era can be downright frightening and of course, fasciinatiing.


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