Review Summary: The Faint delivers a gem with their newest album Fasciinatiion, coupling their unique electronic/indie style with compelling well-written commentary about freedom, choice, celebrity gossip, and other various subjects.
The Faint, ever since their initial jump from the strictly indie nature of their first album to the electronic club feel have been a major influence on both the electronic and indie music scenes, coupling their infectious dance grooves with thought-provoking songwriting to much success.
Fasciination, their first release on their independent label blank.wav, is not the ground breaking offer that many of their previous works have been musically or electronically. This is the first album by The Faint where the music goes in places you'd expect it to, which to some could be considered a flaw. However, it's important to note that the lyrics here are the star, having improved substantially over any previous offerings. The album opens with the razor-tongued 'Get Seduced', an attack on both the paparazzi and the insatiable consumer that keeps the creeps in business, and doesn't stop moving from there. No subject is safe, whether it be simple matters like relationships (Psycho and I Treat You Wrong), politics (A Battle Hymm for Children), religion (Ghost In The Machine), or choice (Forever Growing Centipedes), they cover it all, and they do it in trademark fashion, proving time and time again that catchy music can in fact be well written and intelligent as well. (Gasp!)
Of course, the album isn't without it's flaws. As with most offerings, it's quite short at only 10 tracks and leaves more to be desired. Some of the tracks, while being their most consistently well-done they've ever been, do fall short of greatness from time to time. The tracks 'Psycho' and 'I Treat You Wrong' in particular, feel awkward compared to the rest of their source material, and I find myself skipping these numbers quite a bit. Also, their lyrical themes are sometimes too far-reaching and can occasionally sound a bit confused or contrived, as can be seen in the track 'Fish In A Womb'.
Other than those small problems however, Fasciinatiion is a definite improvement upon the past in subject matter while remaining true to their trademark retro electronic sound. While many may find the topics to be uninteresting and the music predictable this time around, the songs themselves are interested in what they're trying to say, showing an artist that is more concerned about making good music than good money which, in an age where creativity and money don't play nicely together, is nice to see.
It will be exciting to see where they go from here.