Posted on September 29th, 2008 (12:00 am) by Derek Duoba

So here it is folks, one of the most highly anticipated records of 2008. After four long years, the Omaha based synth-pop act, The Faint are back with a new record, and I am incredibly happy to announce that it is a killer. With a tighter sound than any of its predecessors, Fasciinatiion still manages to pull off the dancey synth-pop that fans have come to love over the last decade or so. Not only is this record a treat for the ears, but it also has something to say about contemporary western culture as well. To be blunt, Fasciinatiion is a freakin’ manifesto, full of commentary on social conformity, materialism and even the war on terror.

One of the major themes of Fasciinatiion centers on the idea of societal compliance. The opening track, “Get Seduced,” speaks about the materialism of contemporary western society and the artificially induced conformity that it has spawned. As lead man Todd Fink sings, “We get seduced” by the tabloids, by the fashion industry and the advertisers who are seemingly out to control every aspect of our lives. This theme is later paralleled by the sixth track of the album, “Mirror Error,” which hints at the meaninglessness of all the items people adorn in order to make themselves look better. To The Faint, this is all just a facade symbolizing our collective angst about what we have become – a society obsessed with superficiality.

Of course, this isn’t the only idea that The Faint muse over in their new record. Other tracks such as “Machine in the Ghost” and “Forever Growing Centipedes” talk about the human capacity for choice. At times, Fink’s lyrics become Socratic: “I see a choice I make explode in thousands of pieces;” one decision leads to an innumerable amount of other questions to be answered. If anything can be taken from these lyrics, it would appear as if Fink has come to a metaphorical crossroads of sorts. While he knows that in order to live productively, he has to make decisions; however, the outcomes may not be quite so desirable.

While Fasciinatiion clearly typifies a lyrical progression for The Faint, the record manages to shine brightly from a musical standpoint as well. Many tracks are reminiscent of Wet from Birth, although the album as a whole sounds a bit more lo-fi than its predecessor. Another thing that sets Faciinatiion apart from WFB is the widespread use of synths in the place of guitar/bass riffs. Tracks such as “The Geeks were Right” and “Forever Growing Centipedes,” are sure to become favorites to the club crowd with their quick tempos and highly-danceable rhythms. As I have discussed previously, the majority of the album’s tracks are thinking pieces in which the music supplants Todd Fink’s incredible vocal work. “Mirror Error” is a particularly notable example of these philosophical masterpieces.

Faciinatiion’s closer, “A Battle Hymn for Children” eloquently sums up the band’s thoughts on one of the more popular subjects in the United States today – Iraq. In a world where children are surrounded up by violence, be it on the TV or in the classroom, it only comes as natural that the state in which they live strives towards global domination. Unfortunately, as Fink alludes to, the psychological effects of war causes nothing but harm to the nation’s young. If nothing more, Faciinatiion carries a message of urgency to the United States – if we don’t start thinking for ourselves soon, the problems of today are only going to get worse.

Track List

1. "Get Seduced" - 4:22
2. "The Geeks Were Right" - 2:56
3. "Machine in the Ghost" - 3:20
4. "Fulcrum and Lever" - 3:22
5. "Psycho" - 2:51
6. "Mirror Error" - 3:43
7. "I Treat You Wrong" - 3:20
8. "Forever Growing Centipedes" - 3:54
9. "Fish in a Womb" - 3:16
10. "A Battle Hymn for Children" - 3:58

The Faint, Fasciination
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

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