As mentioned in the previous post, I picked up Trans Am’s new disc the other day. What I like about Trans Am is that even what is apparently simple about their sound is, to the ear, beyond exacting. Trans Am are post-rock wank wunderkinder. They are a band that is just as likely to wow you with the tightness, subtletly, and complexity of their riffs as use their considerable talents for playing their instruments and manipulating the recording process to fuck with you as they explore an exaggerated iteration of some tangent of rock that has been fascinating them. Trans Am is on a two-record hot streak of solid playability. You cue Sex Change in your media util and there is no need to touch, shuffle, skip ahead, or in any other way molest the cool, reptilian confidence of the recording’s progress from frame 00:00:00 to finish. Unlike Thrilljockey labelmates and fellow post-rock accused Tortoise or The Sea and Cake, Trans Am has always kept a strongly symmetrical and Krauty backbone to their rhythm section, along with an allegiance to eerie, aetherial synthesizers. The result is that, instead of producing rock music with the mutant shuffle of math and jazz flourishes, Trans Am assembles rhythmic rock songs of a length unoffensive to the pop-trained attention span, but with all the flourish, artistry, obvious skill, and penchant for oscillation between compatible time signatures and heretofore incompatible styles of instrumentation (distorted Vs. clean guitar, et & c.) of prog. Oh, and sometimes they chill you cold like Kraftwerk. The occasionally tongue-in-cheekiness of the lyrics is interestingly backdropped by the evident effort put into their elaborate instrumentation. Their wank is uncluttered and expansive on Sex Change. Particularly noticeable on this release is their development of their surgical metal guitar and their eerie, 70’s prog church choruses. Standout track “Shining Path” grinds from start to finish through an aural world of driving light. Final track “Triangular Pyramid” sounds like it must feel to be thrown, as a titan, upon the merciless crags of some ancient mountain range as gold light pours from your god’s wounds.
These guys know their shit and they know how to make a great album. Also check out Futureworld, Surrender to the Night, and the amazing paranoia-fest Liberation.