The Faint

Here's the line no one can resist quoting in reviews of Wet From Birth, the fourth album by the Omaha-based electro-punk act the Faint: "I was acting indifferent at the merch booth putting on makeup," singer Todd Baechle sneers nonchalantly in opener "Desperate Guys." People excerpt the line because it perfectly encapsulates what the Faint is about: a very self-conscious repudiation of regional hardcore's do-gooder sobriety. First off, who knew they made electro-punk acts in Omaha? Secondly, even when the Faint is serious, it's joking (and, naturally, vice versa). Wet From Birth doesn't hit as hard as 2001's Danse Macabre because the band didn't write any strong melodies to writhe lasciviously over; the promisingly titled "Erection" wilts before you can bother remembering it. But the Faint did learn from last year's surprisingly solid remix disc: Each cut here is a study in homemade horn-dog texture, guitars grinding, synths squelching and strings sawing more eloquently even than Baechle in sound-bite mode.


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