Todd Baechle needs help. Ever since his band, The Faint, ditched lo-fi guitars for synths and strobes, his lyrics have spiraled into misanthropic tales of paranoia and sexual frustration.
The Faint’s particularly long and difficult gestation period may be to blame. After 10 years of lineup changes and stylistic modifications, the band has emerged slippery and scrappy, taking its cues from punk rock, electronica and ’80s dark-wave synth pop. Earlier albums emphasized the latter, focusing on its gothic hedonism, instead of the snobby glamour-lust that dominated the short-lived electroclash scene.
“I think at the time we were just bored with our style and abilities on guitar,” says Faint keyboardist Jacob Theile, via e-mail, adding that the guitar has returned to a central role. “Several songs on [last year’s release] ‘Wet From Birth’ are very much carried by the guitar,” he says, thanks in part to a larger songwriting role from lead axman Dapose, whose previous career in death metal fits well with The Faint’s morbid mien.
It’s easy to spot his contribution. Chunky, growling basslines now compete with synth frequencies that could cut glass and curdle milk. Before “Wet From Birth,” The Faint’s sound had all the warmth of an electric fence. Now violins and disco-era handclaps accompany menacing riffs to place flesh over the wiring and make the whole mess sound like a joint party by Studio 54 and CBGB’s.
Read the full preview/interview at The Japan Times Online.