Wet from Birth
hether you regard The Faint as the ultimate in shallow hipster music or progenitors of the best new-wave to be dragged through the third millennium, Wet from Birth is unlikely to change your opinion. Although the band has tossed the ingredients around some, its fourth album is more of the same sex-driven, high-octane dance-rock that first attracted a horde of skinny youths five years ago with Blank-Wave Arcade.
And say what you will about the band’s followers, but Blank-Wave Arcade and Danse Macabre are two of the most successful electronica/rock mash-ups of the last five years. The Faint consistently produces invigorating music that can straddle the line between the two genres as authoritatively as it can devote itself to one individually (see Blank-Wave Arcade for the former, Danse Macabre the latter). Whichever path the group chooses, dancing is an ineluctable reaction.
Wet from Birth is no exception to this rule. Its opener, “Desperate Guys”, is one of The Faint’s career highlights, exploring Baechle’s ever-sexual ponderings with uncharacteristically diverse instrumentation. Southern strings lend the song an epic urgency previously unheard from The Faint, while cowboy guitars and industrial beats blend together to distort the setting until Baechle’s simple chorus—“I figured desperate guys never had a chance with you”—becomes a universal truism.
The first side of the album proves to be the more adventurous half, with tracks like “Southern Belles in London Sing” and “How Could I Forget?” using multifarious new effects to achieve a grander and less easily pigeonholed sound. Nonetheless, even when Wet from Birth approaches by-the-numbers Faint territory, as on “Paranoiattack” or “Symptom Call”, the melodies do not disappoint. Wet from Birth, then, might not be enough to convince disbelievers, but to fans, it’s a gratifying addition to an already impressive repertoire.
Reviewed by: Kareem Estefan
Reviewed on: 2004-09-17