I’ve already written a bit about the period of time that Tooth & Nail/Solid State dominated the so-called “Christian” rock period from around ’02 till… I’d say ’07 or as late as ’08.
But, man – looking at the Saddle Creek roster and the releases from that same period?
This album, Wet From Birth; both Bright Eyes’ 2005 releases Digital Ash in a Digital Urn and I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning; Cursive’s The Ugly Organ in 2003 and Happy Hollow in 2006; the Tim Kasher side project, The Good Life’s Album of the Year in 2004; and a slew of other releases from bands like Azure Ray, Neva Dinova, Rilo Kiley, Two Gallants, et al.
During those years, Saddle Creek had about as much influence on the indie rock scene as T&N/SS did on the “Christian” rock scene. Every Saddle Creek release was one to pay close attention to. Not to say they don’t still have the same output or pull they did then, but just as it’s fallen off for T&N/SS, it has to some extent for Saddle Creek as well.
That doesn’t at all diminish the fact that albums like Wet From Birth are timeless. Even though next year it will have been out for a full decade, Wet sounds like it could come out next year and still be fresh.
As the follow up to Danse Macabre, Wet is less dark and more dancey – and at times, befitting as a score to movies unwritten, probably by dudes with shaggy beards who live in Brooklyn communes. Not even talking about the Hasidics, either.
Both opening track “Desperate Guys” and “How Could I Forget” have a cinematic feel about them thanks to furious string work, arranged by Saddle Creek mainstay Nate Walcott (Bright Eyes, Mystic Valley Band) and performed by Clark Potter, Tracy Sands, Kim Salistean and Donna Carnes, among others.
And to editorialize (as per usual), I’m not going to lie: the opening bass riff from “I Disappear” is the song that inspired me to pick up that instrument. The bass tone throughout Wet is so fuzzy and edgy, not acting as just a backbone of the rhythm section.
The band is also known for their high energy live shows, inducing even casual head bobbers into dancing. The Faint are a pretty unique group, and the term “dance punk” finds a proper fit here. Who else could pull off (no pun intended) a song about an erection without it being gimmicky?
From what I feel is their best album, here is The Faint’s “Drop Kick The Punks” –
Standout tracks: “I Disappear” and “Paranoiattack”
Weakest track: “Birth” is a bit underwhelming. Kind of a meek ending to an otherwise killer jam.
RIYL: Electro-rock, post-punk, post-new wave, dance rock. Justice, Moving Units, maybe Fischerspooner.