Trans Am, Liberation

John Wray

By John Wray

on 04.22.11 in Reviews


Trans Am

Trans Am have long specialized in reinventing themselves, but Liberation is perhaps the most marked departure to date for Washington, DC's three-man indie fusion juggernaut. Trans Am's hallmarks are all here &#8212 the ferocious rhythm section, the Deep Purple-by-way-of-KMFDM guitar crunch, the nod to Kraftwerkian (or is that Thomas Dolbyan?) electronica &#8212 but the band's walk-in closet of pop and prog references has been harnessed, this time, to a clear-cut agenda. Liberation is Trans Am's first foray into the murky and treacherous waters of political rock, and the results are as surprising and contradictory as one would expect. "Uninvited Guest," the second track on the album, sets the tone nicely, layering doctored sound bytes from George W. Bush speeches over a sinisterly cheesy techno pulse and maddeningly repetitive applause. Liberation was recorded live in a DC studio, and the windows were left open to allow the sounds of Code Orange (police sirens, military helicopters) to act as a fourth band member. This is Trans Am's most relevant and accessible recording yet.