The pale young men from Omaha, Nebraska known as the Faint have always been more than happy to revive the 1980s, an era when MTV showed actual music videos, for songs full of synthesizer dance beats. WET FROM BIRTH brings in heavier-than-usual punk/goth vibrations, as if Trent Reznor suddenly started playing keys for Depeche Mode. The lyrics have also evolved from previous sex-obsessed notions to deep, disturbing ruminations, made all the odder by their dance-floor-ready frameworks.
The rude-boy-style jump-up "I Disappear" opens with Joel Petersen's bass line sounding so wonderfully distorted you worry his amp won't make it halfway through the first chorus, as vocalist Todd Baechle laments about the crippling nature of self-consciousness. "Dropkick the Pinks" takes a dive into the basement for '80s punk, with little sister's Duran Duran album still audible from upstairs. Deliciously dated anthemic guitar riffs enliven "Birth," wherein Todd sings his sticky, pain-wracked remembrances of exiting the womb, as brother Clark bashes the drums. Each song jumps around between retro-rock, dark New Wave, electroclash, and emo-punk, all the while staying more or less danceable, further proof there must be something weird in the Omaha water (Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst was once a Faint member).
Rolling Stone (p.96) - 3 1/2 stars out of 5 - "Not just a dance-rock band anymore, the Faint unveil a strong song sense with tunes as richly imagined, well-written and arresting as their titles..."
Spin (p.64) - Ranked #32 in Spin's "40 Best Albums of the Year" - "[T]hey ditched the quote marks and made their moldy old synthesizers rock in ways Nine Inch Nails only dreamed."
Entertainment Weekly (p.76) - "[T]hey're writing zippy songs about crushes...sprinkling them with zesty strings and punked-out guitars." - Grade: B+
Uncut (p.97) - 3 stars out of 5 - "WET FROM BIRTH shifts their retro synth-pop into lean electro-funk territory."
Alternative Press (p.148) - 4 out of 5 - "WET FROM BIRTH is another strong outing from Omaha's grooviest new-wave fans."
Magnet (p.100) - "There's still a fetishistic fascination with the seamy deca-dance of Soft Cell and Human League."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.99) - 3 stars out of 5 - "[A] riotous mix of nuclear-age paranoia, dubious angst and party flamboyance....A band at their sinewy, silly prime, The Faint have been working out and it suits them."