A sabbatical is the most effective remedy for the uncertain of souls in need of a sense of direction, or perhaps necessitate a return of focus.
In the four years since their last album, Wet From Birth, The Faint have used this period productively to take stock.
Wet From Birth found them arguably at their peak a decade into their lifetime; but their level in terms of sales and shows had remained fairly static.
It happens to the best of us.
The end result was to renovate a building, build a studio, produce their own album, part company with Saddle Creek and set up their own label, blank.wav, where their fifth record Fasciinatiion (sic) was recently released in the USA (Europe has to wait until October).
The road test for Fasciinatiion has taken them across North America for much of August, leading up to this bout of intimate club shows in Europe.
Cargo is heaving and humid on a balmy Friday evening. The deep rolling throb of Agenda Suicide as an opener sends already high spirits soaring. Todd Fink is revelling in the mood too, lifting his aviator goggles between songs to see through the condensation which endlessly builds up in them. The white threads simply compliment the extravagance of his presence.
To his left, keyboardist and chief producer of the album Jacob Thiele is giving a running lesson in how to jerk your upper torso asymmetrically while mashing at a synth in an irrepressibly edgy fluid motion. The strobey, arthouse video show is silhouetted by guitarist Dapose and bassist Joel Petersen wrestling with their guitars either side of the stage.
The spectacle is as frenetic as you’re likely to see – barely 10 minutes into the show, clothes are damp and sticking to skin. You’re living, breathing and feeling The Faint as its meant to be.
Fasciinatiion is fairly easy to warm to – the trend for the album revolves around solid melody whisked with all manner of bleeps, blurps and crunches. The electro stomp of Geeks Were Right and the sleazy Get Seduced stand out most. Fink’s psychedelic vocals over Fulcrum and Lever’s hip-hop styled beats signal the more experimental nature of the record too.
It’s left to Desperate Guys and closer Glass Danse World to mercilessly lob a grenade of trashy electroclash into the middle of the room. The Faint are back, and boy have we missed them.