The Faint - Blank Wave Arcade - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Faint - Blank Wave Arcade

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:2003-03-17

The Faint are unashamed nostalgics, a band of Nebraskan twentysomethings pillaging the mid-80s synth-pop sound as enthusiastically as they raid new romantic's walk-in-wardrobe. Originally released Stateside in 1999, Blank Wave Arcade is the group's stand-out album--a hot-blooded work that recalls that Duran Duran, Flock of Seagulls, and The Human League were descended from punk's fiery musical legacy, and seems intent on banishing all trace of clinical dispassion under a crashing tide of synth-led rock & roll. Frontman Todd Baechle's passionate, heartfelt vocals faintly recall the emotional histrionics of a fellow Nebraskan, Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes, but these songs are far less concerned with the emotions of romantic relationships than, shall we say, the mechanics--the titles of "Worked Up So Sexual", "Casual Sex", and "Sex is Personal" ought to give you a pretty good idea of his primary lyrical concerns.

Believe it or not, beyond the 80s references, one of The Faint's major influences appears to be Sonic Youth: the likes of "Victim Convenience" share something of that band's pounding dissonance, and it's this that marks them apart from the majority of the slick technoid electroclash brigade, making these Omaha punk poseurs a genuinely unique musical proposition. --Louis Pattison

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