The music of indie-label buzz band the Faint is likely much different than what you might imagine a young band from Omaha would sound like. In fact, they seem not only out of (geographic) place but out of time as well, producing a decidedly 1980s-influenced industrial-dance hybrid that incorporates key elements of Depeche Mode, Devo, the Cure and — for contemporary flair — Brainiac for an exciting, if often unoriginal, result.
At the sold-out El Rey last Thursday, as part of a short headlining trip before the band hits the road for a U.S. tour with fellow New Wavers No Doubt, the Faint whipped the packed house into a dancing frenzy with an action-packed hourlong set of tracks from its three albums, with extra notice given to the recently issued and darkly exotic “Danse Macabre” (Saddle Creek).
“Your Retro Career Melted,” a cryptic indictment of disposable heroes, began slowly with spare beats and increasingly anxious synthesizer swirls, ultimately exploding into a throbbing techno number. “The Conductor” opened ominously, as if to accompany some unseen vampire movie, then slyly progressed into a colorful and soaring Erasure-influenced dance song.
Singer and keyboard player Todd Baechle’s vocals were treated with faux-computer sound effects for added creepy flavor. The other musicians, including new guitarist Dapose, also used ample electronic effects, which gave many of the tunes an unmistakable Nine Inch Nails feel. Triggered samples and synth riffs seemed to fly from each part of the room as wild flashing lights completed the picture.
The crowd cheered wildly for an encore after the 50-minute regular set and was rewarded with “Agenda Suicide,” the enthralling lead track from “Danse Macabre.” Dozens of fans crowded onto the stage and danced with the band members as menacing computerized vocals and dramatic synth lines bounced off the club walls.