It's no secret that the Faint redefined electronic dance music. Their album Blank-Wave Arcade was a near perfect record, and it blended experimental music with mainstream new wave pop. On Fulfilled/Complete, The Faint's Joel Petersen is allowed an outlet for his more experimental side. Though Broken Spindles' self-titled debut seemed to be nothing more than a collection of incidental music, and that's simply because the music was nothing more than a film score. The music was nice enough, but it didn't seem to be anything more than a typical side project, as it did nothing more than leave you wanting more Faint.
Unlike the debut, Fulfilled/Complete is a truly cohesive work. Technically it's still a one-man show, Fulfilled/Complete isn't simply solo doodlings of a bored bandmember spending time during his downtime. Even though there's quite a bit of synth-based material to be found, he's tempered his music with strings ("Induction," "Practice, Practice, Preach") and piano ("Song No Song"). This time around, he's actually stepped up to sing, and whatever reservations he might have had before, it's obvious that he shouldn't be so reserved about his singing. While occasionally the vocals don't quite work--"To Die, For Death" sounds too much like U2's "Numb" for my taste--Petersen's detatched singing fits the overall mood. "Move Away" sounds like a long-lost outtake from Depeche Mode's Black Celebration, and it's all the better for it.
After hearing Fulfilled/Complete, it's safe to assume that the Faint's next record will be interesting listening. If these are Petersen's ideas when he's by himself, it will be interesting to see what he created with the other members of the band. This all-too-brief album is a really nice slice of electronica, and it shows that Petersen's a talented young composer on his own.
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