Sunday, May 06, 2007

Trans Am - Trans Am

Before buying this album (my introduction to the group's music), I had read a lot about how the so-called Trans Am apparently integrates 70s hard rock cliches into their sound in a super-ironic manner, while still being able to hold onto their arty, experimental "post-rock" cred.

Needless to say, I was misled! This isn't some all-irony, tight t-shirted, indie cock stroking fest, nor is it your late 90s easy-listening post-rock free jazz bullshit. No, on this, Trans Am's studio debut, our friends Philip, Nathan, and Sebastian turn in what is simply a half hour's worth of tightly (yet subtly) arranged instrumental rockers and brief studio experiments.

And while the "70s irony" is certainly brought out by the Rush-like rhythm fuckage and ballsy guitar lead of the album's opener "Ballbados" (all the songs are named after imaginary bands! Like this is supposed to be some sort of "battle of the bands" like on that Turtles album or last Friday when my band played poorly received noise-rock to a bunch of football jocks at an all-boys Catholic high school. We tore it up, though. Also, the band's choice of "name" for this particular "band" certainly reinforces the "cock rock irony" that people like to speak of when discussing Trans Am), the group clearly owes much to the post-hardcore side of 90s underground rock, as their compositions often recall Fugazi and various "math-rock" elements.

Of course, then there's the driving 70s classic rock riffing of "Orlando," which is fortunately catchy as crap, and hell, your ZZ Top loving dad might just dig the hell out of it, who knows! The shorter tracks are cool, too. Cute, catchy melodies! This shit gets stuck in your head and you can't remember where it's from and then you realize it's from this album and so you listen to it and you enjoy it because it's good, see.

Rating: Overall, this is a solid instrumental record that's too short to ever really grow boring. The rockers on here pwn hard, and the synthesizer touches are cool as shit (nowhere near as many as you might find on later TA records, though.) If you've never heard Trans Am, I would certainly suggest this as a starting point. Or Futureworld. You get a nice balance of synth jammin' and guitar rockin' here, though. Good album.

Song: "Ballbados"... the first song on this album! It's a good'n!


Joe said...

Trans Am usually bring out the worst in writers, usually ones who want to prove that they see through this band's "post-ironic" stance (or some similar bullshit) and that they're not amused by it! Or writers who want to talk about predictable post-rock is (what a bold statement in 2007!) or some shit like that. Anyway, I still haven't heard their first one so I obviously need to get on it.

Leif Garret(t) said...

Don't worry, this isn't quite my "worst." Still, seeing through the "post-irony" (I'd just call it "irony," personally) is a little easier to do with the debut, as it's less Kraftwerk-y, I suppose. The non-ironic elements (guitar rock, of course! These are indie rock dudes, after all) are more dominant, it seems. They can't hide the Fugazi love. Still, this is fun, inventive music. And post-rock is cool, Trans Am was louder than most of it, though.

Joe said...

I was writing this at work and I must have gotten distracted or something, because I meant to type "but this review wasn't like that" but I didn't for some reason. So instead of complimenting you, it sounds like I was trashing your review. Haha.

Leif Garret(t) said...

Ha, thanks. I wonder if Dan remembers that this blog exists?