Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thoughts on Autolux "Transit Transit"

Almost six years after the release of their critically acclaimed full-length, "Future Perfect", Autolux finally released their sophmore effort "Transit Transit" in August. Upon first hearing "Future Perfect", I was utterly blown away. The band took shoegaze, indie-rock, noise and countless other genres and blended them together to create a futuristic sound that laid waste to their peers. The album was like nothing I have ever heard before and Autolux keeps up their trend of throwing curveballs with "Transit Transit".

"Audience No. 2", which was released as a single almost two years before "Transit Transit" dropped, was the only song I allowed myself to listen to before the album was released. I wasn't able to see the band live and I refused to spoil the wait by watching Youtube videos with poor sound quality. Listening to "Audience No. 2", I expected Autolux to continue on the path they blazed with "Future Perfect" and only making small tweaks here and there since the track could have very easily fit on the tracklisting for that album. Instead, Autolux made some significant overhauls to their sound. The album opens with the self-titled track that does away with reverb-laden guitars and heavy bass lines and instead focuses on a skittering percussion loop and minimalistic piano. Definitely did not expect to hear anything like that. Another odd turn was "Highchair", which found Autolux using more electronic elements than they have in the past. The song utilizes these electronic beat to create a hypnotic dance groove that was nonexistent in the band's past.

"Spots" is a piano-led ballad that creates a slower, more organic sound then what the band is known for. There is almost a vintage pop feel to the track, which is odd because Autolux always seemed like a band that focused more on reverb and favored a noisier approach to their songs. However, there are tracks that recall their previous works such as "Audience No. 2" and the infectiously catchy yet ominous "Census". However, there are moments where Autolux's attempts to expand their sound are not nearly as jarring as "Transit Transit" or "Spots", such as "Headless Sky" and "The Science of Imaginary Solutions". "Headless Sky" opens with  heavy, calculated guitar riffs that repeat throughout the track and this creates a great contrast to the quieter more melodic flourishes occurring with the riffs as a backdrop. "Headless Sky" is easily one of my favorite tracks on the album and as always Carla Azar's drum work is stellar. This could be a surprise candidate on many best of lists later in the year.

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