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Red Line

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Red Line album cover
01
Let's Take The Fresh Step Together
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I Want It All
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Casual Friday
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Polizei (Zu Spat)
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Village in Bubbles
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For Now And Forever
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Play In The Summer
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Where Do You Want To Fuck Today?
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Don't Bundle Me
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Mr. Simmons
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Diabolical Cracker
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I'm Coming Down
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The Dark Gift
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Air And Space
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Talk You All Tight
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Lunar Landing
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Bad Cat
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Slow Response
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Getting Very Nervous
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Ragged Agenda
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Shady Groove
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Album Information
EDITOR'S PICK

Total Tracks: 21   Total Length: 73:19

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Matthew Fritch

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Matthew Fritch spent more than a decade as senior editor of the Philadelphia-based magazine MAGNET, where he wrote about wildly unpopular indie rock bands and r...more »

09.28.11
Presenting the full range of their power
2004 | Label: Thrill Jockey

Pioneers of the ironic mustache and cheeky proponents of retro-futurism, Trans Am tend to get snickered off the post-rock dais. Truth be told, there can be a Sprockets-like element to the krautrocking sounds put forth by this Washington, D.C., trio – a vocoder-filled vein that Stereolab never touched. But the very notion that humor would have no place in the millennial indie-rock landscape is a pretty bleak situation. 2000 double album Red Line represents… read more »

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For Trans Am, merely OK

hematovore

If this record had all the little experiments ("f*%!ing around", as a friend of mine put it) trimmed off, it would be on par with 'Future World'. I prefer that when they gotta sing, they keep it really minimal, ala Kraftwerk. The straight pop tunes aren't welcome by me. They're not bad songs, they're just not what I want from these guys.

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They Say All Music Guide

Ranging from stripped-down percussion pieces to menacing electro/Krautrock to nimble, acoustic melodies, Trans Am’s sprawling The Red Line encompasses all of the group’s previous musical territory and stakes a few new claims. Though “Polizei (Zu Spat)” and “I Want It All,” with their swarming synths and processed vocals, could have appeared on the group’s earlier albums, the untreated singing on poppy songs like “Play in the Summer,” “I’m Coming Down,” and “Slow Response” is a first, and a welcome surprise. Mixed in are reflective pieces like “Village in Bubbles” and “Now and Forever,” which recall the guitar atmospherics of Trans Am’s early days, and minimal, completely electronic tracks such as “Talk You All Tight” and “Lunar Landing.”
Best of all is the album’s centerpiece, “The Dark Gift,” which begins with subtle acoustic guitars, explodes in a sonic maelstrom, and then gallops away on an intricate yet propulsive synth and guitar counterpoint. On paper it might sound self-indulgent, but it anchors The Red Line and condenses its diversity into one piece. Likewise, the final track “Shady Groove” transforms from synth meanderings to a ferocious, sax and drums workout that cuts off abruptly, as if choked by its own momentum.
Even with all of the album’s eclecticism, The Red Line doesn’t forget Trans Am’s sense of humor, as song titles like “Where Do You Want to Fuck Today?” and “Don’t Bundle Me” prove. The guitar heroics on “Bad Cat” and “Ragged Agenda”‘s impersonation of Suicide on speed and steroids reaffirm that the band can rock out in many different ways and still sound focused. At 21 wide-ranging tracks long, The Red Line is one of Trans Am’s most impressive albums, but it’s not their most immediately accessible one. However, after a few listenings, The Red Line reveals its full scope as an ambitious, diverse work from a group that never stands still. – Heather Phares

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