Thrill Jockey Records
Trans Am has been crafting synth-and-drum obsessed albums since the early ’90s. And like everything great to come out of the ’90s, there is a bit of self-conscience irony in their sound, like they know full well that they are channeling every pop group since the Beach Boys. And that’s cool. But like a John Barth novel, their postmodern experiments just aren’t completely pleasing in a superficial way. They take time. And Trans Am’s latest Sex Change is no different; after a couple plays, this album just leaves me saying “I don’t know.”
Like all things postmodern, you must understand the larger picture to be in on the joke. Apparently, Trans Am’s previous album Liberation was more politically charged than any of their previous material. Basically, they were fed up with the W and his lackeys (or is it the other way around?) and decided to express their frustration in their music, an activity that was very popular in a previous era known as the “’60s.” And like almost everyone else in America, the recent political climate had finally taken its toll. So the trio parted ways for two years, finally regrouping in Australia to jam on some else’s synthisizers, drums and guitars. The result is Sex Change.
Hey wait a minute; That’s it! You know what this album is like? Its like in the movies when an obvious underdog like Rocky or the Mighty Ducks practice really hard and the music is dramatic and energizing, and then after only three minutes, they are way better and ready to kick ass. That’s exactly what this album is: 2007’s totally self-aware musical interlude. No matter how Phillip K. Dick-ian our world becomes, Trans Am believes all any of us ever really needs is a musical interlude, a time to learn how to kick ass. And Sex Change may be that album… or you could just rock out to !!!’s latest instead.
Thrill Jockey: www.thrilljockey.com