Split Personalities

They dream of hacking into the Pentagon and triggering nuclear armageddon....

They dream of hacking into the Pentagon and triggering nuclear armageddon. They dream of a world ruled by titanium [I]|bermenschen[/I]. But most of all, [a]Trans Am[/a] dream of beating their little brothers at computer ping-pong on the Atari console they got for Christmas.

Notoriously besotted with the ‘world’s ugliest aesthetics’, Washington’s [a]Trans Am[/a] used to practise reconstructive post-rock surgery on Boston and Yes, occasionally flirting with butch metal thrills. On ‘Futureworld’, though, they’ve ditched the rock and developed their latent fascination with car-sized synths, returning to the early-’80s computer age. That means lots of vocoders, lots of chrome-plated isolation, and a nagging feeling you should join CND, their point being – like every other band with a hardware fetish and an arched eyebrow – that the future of the past is not the future of the present.

Unfortunately, compared with Morlock militants Add N To (X), or the sex-fuelled mutations of Six Finger Satellite, ‘Futureworld’ is youth club prog. The moments of apocalyptic splendour – ‘Futureworld II’ sounds like Techno Animal regurgitating elastic bands, ‘Television Eyes’ is uranium-powered New Order – can’t compensate for a track called ‘Cocaine Computer’ or the overwhelming aura of pasted-down fringes and schoolboy bedrooms.

This is the sad truth behind the Atari teenage rioters. They never really got out much.