While his day job as bassist for The Faint calls for him to explore dark, synth-fed pleasures rife with psychosexual overtones, Joel Petersen has given himself the freedom to explore a more low-key, organic side with Broken Spindles.
Since his self-titled debut under the BS moniker in 2002, Petersen has displayed an impressive musical range that first saw him meld IDM textures and orchestral backdrops but he soon veered into lo-fi indie rock and various mutations of electronica. Now, with Kiss/Kick, his fourth proper release as Broken Spindles and his first for the Faint’s own blank.wav imprint, Petersen has found ample space to indulge his various sonic personas.
While there is barely a hint of synth to be found on the six-minute opener “I’ve Never Been This Afraid,” the chugging, jangly riffs and driving beats bear the imprints of The Faint. Petersen doesn’t wait long, though, to dust off the digital equipment for the following track “Introvert,” a quick, punchy new-wave ditty filled with 8-bit sequences and processed guitars.
One of the more intriguing attributes of Broken Spindles is the air of mystery that surrounds many of its tracks, the lyrics and melodies of which seem to denote something more perverse than the overt messages of the Faint. Kiss/Kick tracks like “Introvert,” which find Petersen’s now familiar hushed vocal delivery mixing with moody keyboard chimes and guitar, sound far more sinister than its author might’ve intended. Still, Petersen isn’t oblivious to writing a catchy tune amidst the brooding surroundings. “A Beat Down Break Up” is anchored by dark electro-funk while ” We All Want to Fit In” feels like a blissful, space-folk excursion ala Grandaddy.
Though his priorities still remain with The Faint, Petersen has nevertheless made the best of all his downtime between album releases and tours. Kiss/Kick might limp towards the end with odds and sods experimentation, but it is nevertheless a welcome evolution for Broken Spindles, a less accessible yet surprisingly more progressive act than its more successful counterpart.
Broken Spindles: www.brokenspindles.com