Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Faint - Doom Abuse - 2014

Listening to The Faint on vinyl is a must and this clever band actually makes albums that fit into LP format.  Not a double LP; how novel!  The Faint make a brand of industrial, dance pop that is hard, fast, and direct; it begs to be played LOUD (sorry neighbors)!!!  The VVers have seen these guys in concert a few times and it's insane how well the records match up with the intensity of their shows.  For the most recent concert at the 9:30 Club the VVers had a few reasons for some built-up excitement.  First, they were just simply pumped to see the show (why else buy tickets ya underwear face!?!).  Second, there was a chance to score the new record, Doom Abuse, straight from the band.  Now this might not seem like such a big deal, but from the perspective of the band, they typically make a much bigger profit when they can sell directly to the fans without a middle man.  Third, and most importantly, was a high expectation to hear teased tidbits from the last show in full developedness.  An explanation - step back to the prior The Faint show (a mere year and a half before this one) where VVer #1 was fortunate enough to snag a copy of the small-batch tour 12" EP (the copy is stamped with 988 of 1000, whew!).  Two of the four EP tunes were performed that night and were absolutely highlights of the show.  The tour disc is a house favorite, but totally spare with no artwork, no title, no frills.

Back to Doom Abuse!  This LP includes brand new versions of those two coveted EP tracks that were amazing live and have been played over and over in the House of VV.  "Evil Voices" is a song about being caught up in your own negativity/misperceptions.  It also happens to be extremely fulfilling to shout/sing along with.  The version on the LP is basically the same as the EP, with the new version throwing in a few more abstract synths and sharper production.  DEVO influences are apparent in the use of bleeps, bloops, and electronic noise.  "The Unseen Hand" is the other extremely catchy one that got reworked from the tour disc.  The Doom Abuse version sounds like it's been amped up considerably and a bit overproduced.  Consider this one the kitchen sink version.  It's loaded with a ton more effects, cracked-out beats, and is a good deal faster.  Both versions are interesting in their own way, but the tour disc is a lot creepier and darker - the version the VVers prefer.

"Animal Needs" and "Help in the Head" on side A are both quick tempo bangers that are relatively straight forward at first listen.  While "Animal Needs" seems to just simply list things that humans don't "need" it actually does a pretty nifty job of getting the listener to contemplate how deeply civilized we've made ourselves; how far the human race has strayed from what our basic needs truly are.   It's an interesting reflection that somehow manages to fit into the package of a tightly paced track. "Help in the Head" seems to simply be a "tell off" song, but as the listening piles up it's hard not to think that as a famous singer you must meet a lot of highly deranged fans who may take things the wrong way.

"Lesson from the Darkness" and "Damage Control" help close out side B.  Both are insanely catchy.  The VVers continue to find themselves humming, whistling, singing these well after the disc has stopped spinning.  Did The Faint write the Doom Abuse track "Mental Radio" for this sole purpose?  "Damage Control" takes it distinctly slower than the rest of the album, which after all of that thrash and dancing is somewhat a relief.  The song has some weird, high pitched slinky synth line that repeats up and down the scale throughout the track.  Singer, Todd Fink, recounts conversation gone wrong with the closing refrain "Last night was the worst, I said a million things I shouldn't of said" as the slinky synth distorts into oblivion.

Unlike many albums, Doom Abuse holds up on multiple formats.
Also, this pie chart sort of looks like a record, right?
While listening to Doom Abuse you may have a hard time concentrating on anything but the most mundane activities.  VVer #1 has found it to be a quality garden weeding soundtrack.  The music will likely have you air-drumming, head-bobbing, and your personal tempo will increase dramatically.  In less skillful hands this record could easily go wrong, but The Faint have a knack for sharp production, sly writing, and originality that works extremely well here.  Each beat, blorp, and crunch sounds like something new and retro all at once.  Lyrics about anti-consumerism and mental health are all over this album.  How the band manages to say as much as they do with all the music's noise and chaos is impressive.  Usually a waste, the download card has come in handy for some mobile listening and lyric parsing.  The Faint's album artwork is not subtle, but continues their trend of using interesting and somewhat jarring collage to adorn their LP covers.  It should be added that this is no b-list collage; the plush photos and words are englossed against the lipstick red background.  Shiny.

The initial excitement for the show and anticipation for the LP was so high it seemed impossible for The Faint to meet expectations, but somehow they did.  The VVers salute The Faint for not being underwhelming.  "Kudos Gentleman!"

1 comment:

  1. Very cool. Love the cover art too! Will have to check their music out!