Trans Am | Sex Change (Thrill Jockey)

sexchangeAdmittedly they have dropped some rather forgetful releases in their history, but picking out which records are their worst (my vote goes for 2002's TA) is liable to stir up arguments voicing the exact opposite opinion. Also, simply describing the band without disagreements is a true rarity. Welcome to the world of the Trans Am fan.

 

 

It is a little known fact that before Sub Pop Records brought indie rock to the video gaming masses last year by providing the soundtrack to NHL 2K7, that it was not the first time the hockey franchise dished out a bit of the underground. While early last year the Washington, D.C. trio Trans Am told Hummer to shove it when the auto company made overtures to use TA's music in their commercials, their tracks were soundtrack standouts in the '05 and '06 editions of the aforementioned sports game NHL 2K6 saw a whopping four Trans Am tracks in the mix ("Positron," "Play in the Summer," "Positive People," and "Music for Dogs"). It would appear that someone in Trans Am is a hockey fan. While this little nugget of rock trivia is not relevant in the context of this review, it does illustrate a very important point: Trans Am is just fucking awesome. Admittedly they have dropped some rather forgetful releases in their history, but picking out which records are their worst (my vote goes for 2002's TA) is liable to stir up arguments voicing the exact opposite opinion. Also, simply describing the band without disagreements is a true rarity. Welcome to the world of the Trans Am fan.

With their first LP since 2004's outstanding Liberation, Trans Am has returned with a solid lineup of tracks. Though this platter isn't the band's finest work, it serves as a solid introduction as to just what the hell Trans Am has been all about since their debut long-player in 1996. And what, you might ask, is Trans Am? While the descriptive "krautrock" has been the most commonly used word in any TA reviews, its usage has become painfully redundant. Trans Am sounds like Trans Am. One track they are this and the next they are something completely different. In Sex Change, Trans Am kicks things off sounding like a modern Jan Hammer (Miami Vice) in "First Words," and "North East Rising Sun." While "Words" is fairly pedestrian, "Rising Sun" is top notch. Top notch! On page two, they turn up the rock volume in the fantastic "Conspiracy of the Gods." Next comes two cuts that echo early Stereolab-esque cuts "4,738 Regrets" and "Reprieve." Oh, but wait there is more. For their final deft slight of hand, Trans Am channels a pinch of My Bloody Valentine for "Shining Path" and "Triangular Pyramid." Does that clear things up any? Regardless, the tracks bring Sex Change to a solid conclusion. B+ | David Lichius

RIYL: ZZZ, Death From Above 1979, Electrelane, The Fucking Champs

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