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Album review: Autolux's 'Transit Transit'

August 9, 2010 |  6:21 pm

Autolux_175_ There are bands that write songs, and there are bands that write sounds. The experimental L.A. rock act Autolux is firmly among the latter. Its 2004 debut “Future Perfect” was essentially a group exercise in using technology to re-imagine traditional instruments as a sleek monolith of detached feedback and brutal drumming. Even though six years have passed, its follow-up “Transit Transit” only elaborates on that idea.

By and large, this is a good thing. The band’s tone palette of dark blues and grays remains in place, with a new tilt toward found sounds and empty space — the minimalist drum machine patter of “High Chair” and the glitchy title track is ambitious and evocative. Drummer Carla Azar is still the real star here, even when dialed down in service of color and atmosphere.

But Autolux’s main weakness — its refusal to go for the jugular and just write something catchy — still holds them back. Tracks like “Census” and “Kissproof” have some thrilling atonal noise blasts but can’t quite bolster unambitious melodies. 

Autolux clearly saves its affection for intricacy and sonic margins, but after six years you’d think it’d sound more eager for the spotlight.

—August Brown

“Transit Transit”
TBD Records
Two and a half stars (Out of four)

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