Thursday 17 April 2014

Review: The Faint – 'Doom Abuse'

'Doom Abuse'

American indie rockers have proven themselves to be a well of creative and innovative songwriting that has kept the spirit of new wave pioneers such as Joy Division / New Order, Devo and Talking Heads alive and well into the second decade of the 21st century. Albums such as 'Blank-Wave Arcade' (1999), 'Danse Macabre' (2001), and 'Wet From Birth' (2004) have solidified the legacy of the near twenty-year as veterans of US alternative music.

The band's sixth album, 'Doom Abuse' is the first since the difficultly birthed 'Fasciinatiion' (2008) and supporting tour which left the band burnt out and for all intents and purposes... done. The band went their separate ways to focus on other projects, but last year found their way back together to record a four-track white label 12” that ultimately evolved into the raw and visceral 'Doom Abuse'.

The album brings out the punk element of the band's sound and amps up a more low-fi and to the point style than 'Fasciinatiion'. The electronics are nice and dirty, and the songs overflow with a aggression, but the band always maintain their sense of melody and nearly every track here has a danceable groove to it.

Songs like 'Help In The Head', 'Evil Voices', 'Loss Of Head', 'Your Stranger', 'Lesson From The Darkness', and 'Damage Control' continue the traditions of songs like 'I Disappear', 'Agenda Suicide', 'Posed To Death', and 'Dropkick The Punks'. Their abrasive edges perfectly balanced out by fundamentally solid song writing and a great ear for a chorus.

The album sounds quintessentially 'The Faint'. There are recognisable elements from the whole of their musical arsenal occurring throughout. However what separates this album from its predecessors is it's sheer honesty. It's an honest portrayal of a band rediscovering why they became a band in the first place.

In terms of the production, it's very no frills. Not that The Faint were ever ones for grand polished production jobs, but this gets nice and dirty... even a little experimental at times. It captures the energy and vibes that the band want to convey as a live unit. Even when they start layering things up, it still sounds like they have just plugged in and thrashed it out perfectly in the first take.

'Doom Abuse' is quite possibly the strongest album from start to finish in the band's back catalogue since 'Danse Macabre'. If this is The Faint rejuvenated, long may it last.

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