Seeing as how indie-rock/dance-punk/post-punk/new wave/generally awesomesauce band The Faint has managed to maintain their status as one my favorite bands for the last decade — no easy feat given my musical ADD — you can only imagine how I reacted when I caught wind that a new album was in the works. Squealing was involved. And a happy dance. And a total loss of dignity. Ah, who am I kidding? I have no dignity.
Six years have passed since The Faint released their last studio album, 2008’s Fasciinatiion. Much of that time was spent laying low up until the end of 2012 when the group embarked on their Dance Macabre (AKA my dream come true) tour, during which they announced their then-untitled new release and gave us a little teaser in the form of “Evil Voices.” I was instantly hooked.
Fast forward 1.5 years, and we come to the present, one in which I’ve now got my grubby little paws on a fresh copy of The Faint’s latest effort, Doom Abuse.
The album opens with “Help In The Head,” a deliciously hard-edged track even by The Faint standards thanks in part to guitarist Dapose’s metal-laced riffs and follows that up with “Mental Radio” which employs a bit of surf-rock bassline to result in an all-around groovy little number. “Evil Voices” remains as addictive and captivating a track as when I first heard it live at The Fonda.
“Salt My Doom” has a whole lot going on to the extent that it borders on the cacophonous, but has a welcoming and refreshing feel of good ol’ jam band punk. “Animal Needs,” is an anthem the likes of which only The Faint could put together. Although somewhat simplistic by their standards, there’s something unmistakably visceral about this track. I dig it. “Loss Of Head” is decent enough but admittedly a touch on the repetitive side.
Then we come to “Dress Code,” a frenetically fun sub-2-minute segue into the raucous “Scapegoat. “Your Stranger” is an unbelievably catchy anthem of a track that doesn’t take itself too seriously and delivers a flippant fun. “Lesson From The Darkness” maintains a delightful sense of danceable urgency from start to finish.
The album finishes off with “Unseen Hand” and “Damage Control.” The former has the potential to utterly annihilate a crowd live if played properly, and having seen The Faint twice, I’ve no doubt they’ll be able to pull it off. “Damage Control” marks an interesting change of pace for the group with its markedly more drawn-out pacing and ’80s synth-pop vibe. Although I like it well enough as a standalone track, I can’t help but feel it’s a tad out of place in the album.
Given electronic music’s meteoric rise in mainstream popularity since The Faint’s last album, I’m pleasantly surprised by Doom Abuse’s return to The Faint’s punk roots. Although delving further into the dance/electronic style would have been more commercially wise by today’s standards, listening to something that’s a little rawer, gritter, and guitar-driven is undeniably refreshing.
Doom Abuse may not hit the ball out of the park in quite the same fashion as Danse Macabre or Wet from Birth, but the album contains more than a handful of standout tracks. Given the context of today’s musical landscape, Doom Abuse is a statement-making album that affirms The Faint’s commitment to releasing music they believe in. And shit, they do it so well.
The Faint Tour Dates:
April 24 – Des Moines, IA @ Wooly’s
April 25 – Madison, WI @ Barrymore Theatre
April 26 – St. Louis, MO @ The Ready Room
April 27 – Lawrence, KS @ The Bottleneck
April 30 – Tulsa, OK @ The Vanguard
May 1 – Dallas, TX @ Granada Theater
May 2 – Austin, TX @ The Belmont
May 3 – Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live – Ballroom
May 6 – Fort Lauderdale, FL @ The Culture Room
May 7 – Lake Buena Vista, FL @ House of Blues
May 9 – Jacksonville Beach, FL @ Freebird Live
May 10 – Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade – Heaven
May 13 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Trocadero Theatre
May 14 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Willamsburg
May 16 – Boston, MA @ Royale NightClub
May 17 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall
May 19 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
May 20 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
May 22 – Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues
May 23 – Chicago, IL @ Metro
May 24 – Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line Music Café
May 27 – Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory
May 28 – Spokane, WA @ Knitting Factory
May 30 – Seattle, WA @ Neptune
May 31 – Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater
June 1 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
June 5 – Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory
June 6 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Roxy Theatre
June 11 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot
June 12 – Englewood, CO @ Gothic Theatre
June 13 – Omaha, NE @ Sokol Auditorium
For more info: