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Electric Company

As pop eats itself, the Faint gives birth to new sounds and vibrations.

By the time the band returned to the States, however, dance-punk replaced garage rock as the newest industry-hyped pseudo-genre. But even that became just another hurdle for Baechle and company to overcome.

"For a little while after we got back from the tour, we weren't even all living in the same city," Baechle notes. "We tried to write anyway, and it just didn't work. But we knew that we didn't want to feel like one of a bunch of bands all doing the same thing. When something becomes popular, it's not interesting to us anymore. You're never going to completely escape the trends of pop culture; we're realistic about that. But we at least had to make an attempt to try to come up with something that sounded different."

Judged on that criterion, Wet From Birth is both a failure and a triumph. While way more upbeat than Macabre and richly adorned with strings, horns, twangy guitar solos and even hints of reggae, it's hardly a huge departure from the band's patented synth-core. But the delivery is stunning; as Baechle unloads his typically astute communiqués on sex, television and the abuses of political and romantic power, the rest of the group meshes with a mechanistic exactness that transfers energy through each circuit and into the Faint's massive, insidiously danceable beats.

Forgive me, for I have synths: Jacob Thiele (from left), 
Joel Peterson, Dapose, Todd Baechle and Clark 
Baechle are the Faint.
Forgive me, for I have synths: Jacob Thiele (from left), Joel Peterson, Dapose, Todd Baechle and Clark Baechle are the Faint.

"I think that's an ongoing interest we have," Baechle says of his band's knack for conniption-level rhythms. "That's just kind of the way that we like to hear music -- all the parts lock up together, which accentuates the beat. I think we're going to continue that, though in the future we might come up with some more slow stuff or acoustic stuff or major-key stuff. We have lots of songs to dance to already.

"We're trying not to get stuck in the idea," he adds, "of people only liking our band for one thing."

Not that the Faint seems to resent its fanatically hustle-bound following. But at the band's berserk, nearly hysterical concerts, the motion can sometimes run a little too high. As Baechle points out, "Every once in a while, there's one person in the crowd enjoying himself so much that he's just fucking up other people's moods around him. But it's not like a Fugazi show, where it's a problem all the time and we have to stop the music."

Stop the music? For an outfit as restless and kinetic as the Faint, that's just not an option.

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