The long awaited follow up to Autolux's outstanding debut 'Future Perfect' is finally here! With six years having passed and a number of delayed and postponed release dates for 'Transit Transit', it is finally seeping through my speakers via myspace, its official release date being August 2nd. As an enormous fan of 'Future Perfect' my excitement at the release of 'Transit Transit' has been building and gathering momentum with every failed release date over the last two years or so.
However, I wonder if it is for this reason that on my first hearing I feel slightly disappointed. Maybe with a few more listens it will grow into an equally fitting follow up to a debut of such promise and potential, yet my immediate response is one of frustration. Whilst there is nothing particularly wrong with any of these new tracks, it is hard to detect any of the beauty or intensity present on their debut offering.
The main problem here appears to be a far greater leaning towards experimentalism than is really necassary. Autolux have always possessed a deftly balanced formula of Sonic Youth-esque experimentation and wonderfully simplistic hooks, 'Turnstile Blues', 'Blanket' and 'Capital Kind of Strain' being clear examples. This time around, at least after only one listen, the hooks and melodies are few and far between. 'Supertoys', the lead single from 'Transit Transit', clearly demonstrates this point, sounding rather like and interesting b-side than a surging return from a six year absence. In fact, 'Supertoys' quite adequately epotomises my view of the album as a whole; while it is more than capable of drawing you in, it's just crying out for a little bit more, something to transform it from a good idea into a great song. Other tracks to illustrate this point further appear in the form of 'Kissproof' and 'Headless Sky', each displaying plenty of promise yet not quite delivering in the way one would hope .
The album's obvious highlights both feature drummer Carla Azar on vocals, a direction I would love to see more of if the band continue in the path of 'Transit Transit'. In the absence of any real musical hooks, the beautiful fragility and subtlety of Azar's vocals create a wonderfully dream-like effect on 'The Bouncing Wall' and achieve similar results on album closer 'The Science of Imaginary Solutions'. So, in spite of my slight disappointment that 'Transit Transit' doesn't quite meet the dizzying expectations set by 'Future Perfect', it is still one of the best albums I've heard so far this year.
Having never bought Autolux's first album I didn't really know what to expect. When I heard this album i was thrilled to hear music to the highest standard (although it may not be so easy to listen to). Census is a particulary great song as all the rest are.