When: Wed., Dec. 12, 9 p.m. 2012
The first thing I heard from Omaha dance-punk group the Faint was the 2004 song "Desperate Guys," and though everybody I knew seemed to play it when I was around, I just couldn't get into it; its harsh, artsy blasts of synth, skeletal-sounding drums, coldly aloof vocals, and histrionic violin came across as abstruse and overly stylized. Since then I've mostly stayed away from the Faint, but every so often I've wondered what my friends like about the band. Fortunately Saddle Creek's recent reissue of 2001's Danse Macabre has given me a chance to realize what I've been missing: its style isn't all that different in its superficial details (those shrill and dissonant keyboards turn up here too), but the songs are more fluid, lively, and focused, and their sinister undertow doesn't feel mannered and theatrical. Even the string arrangements—such as the cello and bowed bass on "Ballad of a Paralysed Citizen"—sound great, instead of coming off like out-of-place melodramatic flourishes. The Faint are playing all of Danse Macabre to celebrate the reissue; unfortunately, it's a short album, which means they'll also perform plenty of the later material I still find hard to swallow. —Leor Galil Trust, Icky Blossoms, and the Dark Wave Disco DJs open.