Autolux, Transit Transit
Referencing shoegaze, downtempo and post-rock, but feeling utterly detached from all three
Transit Transit is the first dispatch from San Francisco dream-pop outfit Autolux since 2004's landmark Future Perfect. Six years between records is a long time, but Future Perfect's glassy, pulsing Krautrock drone still stands as one of the strongest shoegaze records of the '00s and, in part due to revivalists like Deerhunter, arguably sounds better today. Which means that Autolux's return could not be more immediate or welcome.
The group has not missed a step. From the first moments of the Animal Collective-reminiscent "Transit Transit" — in which a whirring electronic drum track chatters nervously behind some booming grand piano chords as the group's narcotized vocal harmonies pour into the fold — Autolux sounds effortlessly themselves and of the moment. They have always excelled at folding electronic textures into their feedback waves, creating a coolly shimmering tapestry of sound that references shoegaze, downtempo and post-rock but feels utterly detached from all three. This quizzical gift is in abundance on Transit Transit. The air-conditioned electropop throb of the plushly pretty "Highchair" is wispy-unto-evaporating, while the bad-trip psychedelia of "Supertoys" pitches its way slowly down a wobbly winding-staircase verse melody before the blankly repeated chorus of "It's all right/ You're okay/ Just let it be broken" finds the bottom with a thud. Autolux excel at gorgeous bad-feelings music, an impeccably cool soundtrack for that knifelike, numbing pain behind your eyes the morning after a long, draining night out. If they don't make another record for six years again, they will surely be able to pick up right where they left off here; that kind of music never goes out of style.