Label: Thrill Jockey Release date: 19/04/10 Link: Myspace About a month ago I came across a well-worn copy of Trans Am's 1997 release Surrender To The Night on vinyl. I knew nothing of the D.C. based trio, but it was impossible to resist the romantic cover art, and anything released by Thrill Jockey is worth giving a listen to. It was an acquired taste but, eventually, the melange of sweeping highs, horrific lows, a vague three act structure, and just a touch of cheese-ball geek culture managed to move me. This clear and present passion for continuity, however antiquated, has come through yet again, even after nearly three year hibernation between studio LPs. Trans Am's latest, Thing, is a half-serious love letter to intergalactic exploration. The "concept record" tag makes some people cringe, and in this day and age of instant musical gratification the art of constructing an album as a single, liner, thought is dead and dying. If Thing has a sense of place, it would probably be the bridge of the Millennium Falcon. Opener 'Please Wait' is the ambient noise from a space-port lounge, and the album's title track is a peaceful, fifty-five second swig of zero gravity. Like Surrender To The Night, placid moments are destroyed by blurry, funk laden tracks like the quintessential 'Arcadia', where the glorious fusion of synth-pop and guitar driven, garage band music has space to evolve, and grow, and take on multiple personalities. Feeling unsure about steering your interstellar spacecraft into that wormhole? 'Naked Singularity' will most certainly get your adrenaline pumping. The epic denouement 'Space Dock' is a soothing end to a turbulent ride. If you're someone who takes your music very seriously, than Trans Am may rub you the wrong way with their willingness to be playful. If, like myself, you grew up as a sci-fi geek, Thing will most definitely get your boosters thrusting. Photobucket