Faust’s intentions have never been easy to discern. Over their 40-plus years of morphing, discontinuous existence, they’ve been so good at dodging expectations and confounding analysis that even when they’re playing it straight, you wonder if something else is going on. So when the press sheet for j US t (pronounced “just us”) claims the band is “inviting the whole world to use [the album] as a base on which to build their own music,” it’s hard not to get suspicious. Is this a decoy? Do Jean-Hervé Peron and Zappi Diermaier want you to imagine other music so you won’t focus on theirs? Is it simply a way to say “if you don’t like it, make your own”?
Perhaps Faust truly are earnest about wanting this album to inspire public collaboration. But the idea does point to something that’s always been intriguing about Faust’s music: it’s often just as much about what they aren’t playing as what they are. Their work is full of implications and innuendos, spaces waiting to be filled in. j US t doesn’t necessarily have more of that than most Faust albums, but implication does seem to be a main theme here. This is music in which every note suggests many more possibilities.
j US t begins by proclaiming more than intimating, and in this way it bears an uncanny resemblance to the last Faust effort, 2011’s stellar Something Dirty. That record began with three bold, practically rocking tunes, and so does this one. Based around simple riffs and looping beats, these songs are like free-form post-rock, sturdy in their rhythms but opened-ended in their direction. And despite how well-defined the base of each track is, there’s also tantalizing space in each one. Take “80Hz”, whose simple two-note bass figure flows beautifully with the well-timed accents of Diermaier’s percussion and Peron’s sonic grab bag. At times it dips to near-silence, in other places it crests to frantic peaks, but throughout it maintains a tension that compels attention.
The balance between action and suggestion tips more toward the latter for the rest of j US t, in ways both fascinating and frustrating. Some songs maintain the attraction of anticipation, hinting at where they might go without ever fully abandoning other options. But others feel more flat than ripe, not so much flirting with tense silence as drifting into empty inertia. One in particular, the seven-minute “Palpitations”, is mostly limp. Its intermittent percussion and electronic squiggles sound more random than impulsive, making it the only instance on the album where I find myself wishing I could already hear other bands filling it in.
It takes a few tracks to recover from that mid-album drop, but Faust manage to rebound on closer “Ich Sitze Immer Noch”, whose slow, rising lope sounds like a sunny homage to Spiderland–era Slint. Like the bulk of j US t, it offers a lot worth hearing and just as much worth daydreaming about—in other words, it achieves the band’s stated goals. Maybe Peron and Diermaier really did mean what they said.
from Album Reviews – Pitchfork http://ift.tt/1rgNPu5