It may be completely bizarre that legendary bluegrass enthusiast T-Bone Burnett would produce a shoegaze album, but it’s almost unbelievable that the disc would be one of the better indie rock albums to be released last year. Future Perfect opens with a sound as close to perfection as any listener could hope for: Carla Azar’s massive Bonham-meets-trip-hop drumming on “Turnstile Blues.” Instantly revitalizing, her percussion throughout the course of the album keeps the pace quick and rechannels energy away from her bandmates’ noisy tendancies to swirl away in a downward spiral. Not merely relegated to rhythm, Azar’s kit often acts as a lead instrument, directing traffic and providing space where layer upon layer of guitar would have normally been used. The free-up of space yields a distinctly airy sound, where bassist Eugene Goreshter and guitarist Greg Edwards can evoke sustained walls-of-sound without giving in to claustrophobia.
Obvious influences like My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth crop up regularly, like on the muted downstroke chords of “Sugarless.” But Autolux simply taps into the template of these soundscape progenitors and applies them to a much more pop-oriented style of songwriting. The super-fuzz of “Angry Candy” never truly overpowers the guitar melody, while vocally the band includes a chorus punctuation of playful “doot doot doot”s undercutting the notion that space-rock can only deal with pathos. Later, “Asleep at the Trigger” sees Azar taking lead vocal duties on an arrangement of clockwork, metallic chimes and cool tones. The music grows more organic and exploratative as effect-heavy guitar lines sprout from the initial closely controlled environment.
Autolux is refreshingly free of annoying genre contrivances (e.g. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s hooligan image) and easily more accessible than many of their feedback-loving peers. We can only hope that the band’s future releases hold up to the perfection of their debut.
Columbia Records: www.columbiarecords.com