Wet from Birth
First Appeared in The Music Box, October 2004, Volume 11, #10
Written by T.J. Simon
Omahaís The Faint has released Wet from Birth, the much-anticipated follow-up to its wildly popular 2001 outing Danse Macabre, and the collection serves as yet another attempt to modernize the í80s new wave/synth-pop sound. On top of the formula utilized by Depeche Mode, The Faint overlays a variety of symphonic string flourishes, pounding rhythms, and a punk attitude, and the end result is generally satisfying. The album begins promisingly with the dramatic violins of Desperate Guys, which quickly morphs into a synth-heavy, danceable tune. Itís clearly one of the high points on the collection, although regrettably, there are only two. The other consummate concoction is Southern Belles in London, a tune that also opens with an awesome string arrangement and is further supported by backing vocals from Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor of Azure Ray.
The rest of Wet from Birth, however, is very derivative stuff that will appeal only to listeners who long for the days when Depeche Mode, New Order, and Erasure were all the rage. The track Erection, for example, is nearly a note-for-note rip-off of Personal Jesus. Other cuts such as Phone Call and I Disappear are so inoffensive and nondescript that they are utterly forgettable. Fairing better is Drop Kick the Punks, which breaks format for a Sex Pistols-meets-Devo vibe, and Birth, a tune that mixes cool guitars with more strings and additional vocal assistance from Azure Ray.
While Wet From Birth is only a slightly-better-than-average album, at ten songs spanning a mere 34 minutes, The Faint never overstays its welcome. One can also imagine that given the right venue, the right crowd, and the incorporation of a laser show that shines through a dry-ice haze, this is a band that could unleash an amazing concert experience with the material on this recording. In other words, it just might be time to take that 1986 black turtleneck out of long-term storage.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2004 The Music Box