Red Line

In post-rock terms it almost constitutes a sell-out....

In post-rock terms it almost constitutes a sell-out. On their sixth record, Trans Am have decided to start [I]singing[/I]. In the stern confines of their Washington DC home, that might constitute compromise, but while ‘Red Line’ constitutes their most accessible statement so far, the odds on it becoming the next Moby style left-field, crossover success are infinitessimaly tiny.

Hundreds of miles away from the Chicago hub of American experimental music,’Red Line’ shows Trans Am continuing to live in musical isolation, burying themselves behind unremitting, hammering percussion and occasionally leaping from the shadows with a scrap of melody or a mildly incongruous Ted Nugent style guitar solo.

The occasional vocals are not the only break with tradition. The expansive ‘The Dark Gift’ with its acoustic finger picking toys with the idea of tunefulness before getting bored and evolving into bonkers, Hawkwind-esque space-prog halfway through. ‘I Want It All’, meanwhile is almost electro-pop.

However, Trans Am’s greatest strength still lies in their love

of massive, merciless rhythms

and on ‘Slow Response’ and the frantic ‘Ragged Agenda’ they goose-step purposefully onto

the hitherto unknown slip road

that links minimalist post-rock to Black Sabbath.

It’s an enormous record and

at 70 minutes long, it inevitably rambles like billy-o, but

‘Red Line’ is a fierce statement

of uncompromising creativity.

They Trans Am what they Trans Am and what they Trans Am

needs no excuses.

Jim Wirth