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The Gasoline Age

There's bliss to be found in emptiness. Contentment is a great, blank mental space which is often to be found in the midst of the most mundane pursuits....

The Gasoline Age

9 / 10 There's bliss to be found in emptiness. Contentment is a great, blank mental space which is often to be found in the midst of the most mundane pursuits. And hence the essence of 'The Gasoline Age', the fourth album by sometime Lambchop associate FM Cornog. It's a record of almost narcoleptic restraint; a record where nothing happens. Slowly. Cornog's great stylistic coup - the use of driving as a metaphor for humanity - is handled with almost superhuman understatement. Here is a sequence of songs which celebrates car journeys leading nowhere (save for the gargantuan sprawl of 'Atlantic City (Gonna Make A Million Tonight)' - the final track); 'Sure,' it seems to be mumbling, 'we're all bound for oblivion in the end, but it's worth sticking around for the ride.'

/img/EastRiverPipe899.jpg As you might expect, growing from a premise of such homespun philosophical clarity, the music which wraps itself around Cornog's little travelogues is possessed of a sense of glacial calm and moments of effortless serenity. Sporadic flurries of guitar and sleepy rhythms give way to endless vistas of Neu!-like electronics, a great, open, midnight freeway of sound, punctuated by streetlights and the occasional truck stop drifting by.

In the darkest hours, then, it's worth remembering that the lost highway of happiness is only a mental car journey away. Exceptional.

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