I’ve always thought of (and heard) Trans Am as the post-rock band for everyone – being they are both pre-Post-Rock and post-Post-Rock as it were – they’re happy to hit hard and heavy and channel their inner Led Zep (as the do once again here on the opener, I Hear Fake Voices) they’ve also always had a bit of ‘Prog’ to their sound, including a very Floydian set of tendencies and textures. Again, here you’ll hear that on the title track – a moody, quirky instrumental that also channels the band’s version of some of what Tortoise does and doesn’t sound a million miles from Aphex Twin covering John Carpenter by the way.
Okay, but hang on – all these comparisons and sound-alikes…when a better thing to say – on this – the first set of new recordings by Trans Am in three years, is that they sound – quite remarkably and wonderfully – like Trans Am. Still.
There’s a magic to the madness and inspiration at every point – the biggest, best, most badass rock drumming (sorry for saying badass – I should really delete that, I feel a fool) and then there’s the Yo La Tengo-like moodiness of I Want 2B Ignored; it’s like Eno’s recent Velvet Underground cover if he’d co-opted the Daft Punk robots. Oof, there I go again.
I’ve always been in awe of the madness and magic of Trans Am – a huge sound that transforms down into a subtler, efficient version of skeletal synth pop; electronica with the last (and best) vestiges of metal guitar.
This arrives in a wonderful format too – vinyl only (well, stream and digital download too) but gold-coloured vinyl, ltd ed (1000 copies worldwide) – and some wonderful, subtle music too, closer Rules of Engagement is a reminder of when Sebastien Tellier was a full-blown synth-pop guru, Ship of the Imagination has the hard-hitting Sebastian Thomson weighing anchor in the swirling seas of synthy goodness; it’s prog meets pop – a touch of Jean Michel Jarre, a huge measure of Floyd once again.
It’s all my favourite sides of Trans Am – all here – and in one 8-song, 27-minute snapshot. So it’s a generous EP or a not so generous LP – but the quality is what counts here and they have not added one piece of music here that doesn’t work, that shouldn’t be here. It’s a rare case now to reach that achievement, every piece here – few feel like actual songs, none devolve in or out of just messy jamming – deserves to be here, hits its mark, should be celebrated.
Goddamn Trans Am is a magical band!