BY MICHAEL TOLAND
The tenth LP by this Chicago three-piece, Volume X is either Trans Am’s major statement or a perfect example of talent run amok. Though known as one of American indie rock’s greatest #motorik# revivalists, the band prefers not to be boxed in, and spends this record’s 40 minutes proving that it can do something – anything – else. Thus the trio bounces from Kraftwerkian electro rock (“Ice Fortress”) to ebullient speed metal (“Backlash”) to doomy cosmic rock (“Anthroposcene”) to rawk disco (“Megastorm”) to some sort of approximation of Daft Punk (“Reevaluations,” “I’ll Never”).
On the one hand, the range is impressive, as the band succeeds at pretty much everything it sets out to do. On the other hand, the threesome seems to be deliberately playing down its strengths, and sometimes its tongue is sticking to far into its collective cheek it’s licking your earlobe. The end result is one of the most unfocused LPs in creation – it sounds like a series of experimental EPs collected into one uncohesive statement. Talent and skill overflow from the fingertips of the members of Trans Am, but that doesn’t mean they should let it make a mess on the carpet.
DOWNLOAD: “Anthroposcene,” “Ice Fortress”