December 17, 2002

Broken Spindles "Broken Spindles"

What kind of side-project record should you expect from a fellow whose main gig is a hybrid 80s-new wave and 90s noise? Would you guess that it would be straightforward early 90s techno? I guess you would, and I probably should have, too. The cube-people scene on the front should have been a clue of something slightly futuristic yet retro. The fact that it is by someone in THE FAINT should have been my biggest clue.

Joel Petersen of The Faint was approached by a friend to score a film. The film fell through, but what to do of the music? Instead of letting the music gather dust somewhere, he decided to mix it and release it on his own. Knowing this little bit of information really changed my reaction to this record. This is an all-instrumental record, as befits a film score. The music is techno, of the old-school, Only 4 The Headstrong style, with a few interesting bits thrown in--a dulcimer on "The Love of Foreign Film," vibes on "The Oldest Accident," or the really driving dancefloor beat of "Empty Bottle."

I can't really say that the music is bad--Petersen really knows how to get a great sound out of those little machines of his. The one problem I seem to have with it, though, is common with a lot of instrumental records--it seems incomplete. Having loved Blank-Wave Arcade and that remix record of theirs, I just can't help but feel like I'm listening to works-in-progress. I do know that many of these numbers would probably make great songs. Broken Spindles is a curious listen for the casual Faint fan like me, but I would really recommend it more for the hardcore, who might like to hear what one of these guys can do on his own. I think that you can rest assured, though, that somewhere, a girl is putting "Downtown Venues" on her mix-CD's that she makes for her johns--ahem, sorry, I mean "friends."

--Joseph Kyle

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