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autolux - Transit Transit
The six year wait is at last over; LA alt. rock trio Autolux return with a brand new full-length, the severely overdue follow-up to their widely commended debut album, Future Perfect. This is a band who often find themselves summarised with just one or two handy pigeonholing comparisons - references to either shoegaze or Sonic Youth are commonplace in Autolux reviews, and Transit Transit doesn't always defy such categorisations - lead-up single 'Supertoys' is joined by 'Census' in paying homage to Thurston, Kim, Lee and Steve, although clearly there's a broadening of horizons afoot on Transit Transit. The record opens brilliantly with a title track that deconstructs listener expectations by traipsing through whirring, glitched drum cut-ups and hollowed out upright piano chords. The effect is convincingly beautiful and suggests that the band's songwriting has progressed since their emergence in 2004. More interesting fare is to follow, with the Radiohead-like electronica crossbreed 'Highchair' and the woozily decadent, Beatles-esque balladry of 'Spots'. It's during the moments when the angular guitar constructions recede that the band seem to be at their best - often because you get to hear more of their exquisite rhythm section and more of the strange, avant-garde inclining noises they clutter their mixes with. Pieces such as 'Audience No.2', 'The Bouncing Wall' and particularly the superb closer, 'The Science Of Imaginary Solutions' chart Autolux's ascent into something wholly more involving and impressive than the band they were six years ago. You might conclude that some of Future Perfect's energy and urgency has been dispersed in favour of a better paced, more rounded album, and Transit Transit is certainly a more sonically engaging listen, and a more proficient showcase of songwriting than their debut.