Record Review - 1 October 14 2004

Wet From Birth, the third full-length from serrated synth-pop revivalists the Faint, is — despite the title — neither a birth nor rebirth for the Omaha-based quintet; it is a gestation. Following up 2001's Danse Macabre, Birth continues the group's mission to make the irony-hampered indie scene uncross its arms and legs and cum together on the dancefloor.

Synth-bass throb alone won't get dicks wet. Still, the Faint's music — fraught with taut sexualized sullenness — continues to be idealized grind music for nouveau Depeche Mode, Gary Numan and Devo fans. The record swells with retro-futurist fills — from disco strings ("Desperate Guys" and "Southern Belles in London Sing") to German shuffle beat ("Erection"). The distorted weaving bass, prickly guitar and synths of "I Disappear" are prime punk-funk.

The main problem with the album is that it feels like the Faint is padding its pants a bit. Birth is so elastic it's at times distended by verging on too much orchestration. The Faint is fertile with ideas, and Birth is an admittedly catchy collection, but unless you're Johnny Wadd paid by the pop shot, sometimes ejaculatory control is in order.

-- Tony Ware
The Faint performs at the Variety Playhouse Tues., Oct. 19. 8:30 p.m. $15.