On the heels of Skyscraper’s relaunch, we’ll be reviewing a number of records from mid-to-late 2010 that we missed out on covering during our semi-hiatus. Sort of a “what we missed” series of reviews, emphasizing both some of the best releases of 2010 and some of the year’s most interesting but overlooked records. This is one of those.
One of Los Angeles’ most interesting bands, Autolux straddles the line between accessible indie-rock and artsy, explorative experimentalism on Transit Transit, their second full-length album and the group’s first since 2004’s acclaimed Future Perfect (Red Ink). Drawing from shoegaze, post-punk, and Krautrock, the band creates atmospheric, guitar-driven compositions using understated male/female vocals. A certain minimalist aesthetic permeates the album, leaving plenty of space and breathing room for listeners. Although My Bloody Valentine and the shoegaze genre those Brits inspired are clearly influences, Autolux also dabbles in beats and colors from the world of electronica. Sonic Youth’s another touchstone for this record, as “Census” uses a spare, angular guitar riff that would fit in on most any of the New York band’s albums.
Other instruments, apart from guitars, provide mood and color over the course of Transit Transit’s run time, though. Built upon blocks of melancholic piano chords, the opening title track and the languorous “Spots” are key-driven and at least vaguely reminiscent of Radiohead. Thom Yorke was impressed enough with this band, in fact, to invite them to open for his Atoms for Peace project on recent live dates.
Working in minor key moods, creating works of sophistication and atmosphere, “Supertoys,” the album’s first single, stands out and features a lilting vocal melody. Autolux isn’t really a catchy band despite “Audience #2” ranking as another memorable tune, even while the song’s melody is drenched in creatively manipulated guitar feedback. Evidenced by the group’s fan-base running from Silverlake hipsters to Trent Reznor and the Coen Brothers, Autolux is a talented lot. And while Transit Transit won’t completely blow you away, it’s a satisfying, accomplished release able to please fans and find appreciative ears.Visit: Autolux | TBD
Purchase: Insound | eMusic