Autolux Transit Transit(TBD Records) Buy it from Insound
Famed as scrupulous constructors, Los Angeles trio Autolux take their time to create a distinctive voice without any impulse of current trends. Their debut, 2004’s Future Perfect, came out of nowhere when rock music was still establishing itself as a trusted commodity to conventional ears. At a time when post-punk became fashionable to radio airwaves and garage rock revivalists were beginning to spread like wildfire, Autolux’s indifferent noise-pop proved to be a refreshing concoction of loud instrumentation and soft toned susceptibility. They were also heavily misconstrued as knock-off shoegazers, trespassing on an untouched, “Eden-like” myriad of distortion that many believed should’ve stayed dormant for their own sake.
Six years later, Autolux aren’t basing their sophomore release for the mercy of anyone. Transit Transit justly follows the digitalized distortion their debut paved, keeping a decidedly drab mood that permeates throughout the entire production. This works to their favor; Autolux are one of the few bands that can recreate such bleak tones with character. Lead off track Transit Transit works against their expended high-handed posture, combining loop samples, faint piano chords, and even some trumpets amidst some mumbling moans. High Chair also swerves from their sonic foundation, basing a complete song off percussion and minimal arrangements – it combines some drum machine processing, scant tom skin thumps, and heavy yet hollow bass notes (courtesy of Eugene Goreshter’s monstrous bass work) to create an entirely monochromatic allure. The Bouncing Wall elegantly waltzes akin to how a doo-wop would sound inside an indeterminate purgatory of parading drumbeats, circling feedback pedaling, and droning keyboard flourishes.
Transit Transit doesn’t diverge from the cryptic, hard-rock posing Autolux manages to do so well, either. Though they refrain from making their most accessible songs even less pop oriented, the anticipating build-ups and chord changes in Supertoys should be ready made for KROQ circa early 90’s. And even if Audience No.2 unabashedly resembles Turnstile Blues (it has been doing the rounds for over two years), Carla Azar’s Can-inspired drum fills save Greg Edwards’ cacophonous, autopilot distortions. Fortunately, they depart from the green zone with Census, a no wave inspired wash of swirling guitars and light harmonies that holds more muscle than Future Perfect’s occasionally middling use of ambience.
In order to establish continuity, Transit Transit doesn’t draw a radical distinction from Autolux’s avant-leaning art rock. What they do alter, almost to a dramatic effect, is their willingness to dour many melodic opportunities with heavy, hammering instrumentation. For such a lean lineup, they finely execute a mighty feast of piercing arrangements with the occasional delicate undertones, whether it’s Azra’s vocals or the light xylophone/glockenspiel appearances scattered throughout. Coming from three fervent musicians giving it their all, Transit Transit’s ominous imagery really shines through as a collaborative effort. It really proves that patience is the best virtue.4 August, 2010 - 20:41 — Juan Edgardo Rodriguez