The Clearing [LP; Sister Cylinder]

Sampling “The Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let it Roll),” from George Harrison’s INSANE All Things Must Pass, is a masterstroke. And let me say this: If you hear TRANS FX’s new record The Clearing and don’t instantly recognize Harrison’s genius within “Flowers on the Wall,” it’s time to put in some werk. With that out of the way, allow me to spit-shine TRANS FX’s shoes a bit because this new LP kicks even deeper than their other stuff, their instincts for disaffected post-80s indie-rock gelling intimately with their subtle choices, which often don’t even register until a second or third listen. And let me hit you with a hunk of wisdom I got from 39 Clocks: It’s just as hard to sound good singing out of tune as it is to sing IN tune; either way, when you open your mouth to bray you’re, in my mind, competing with decades of rock history, so you’d better make an impression. TRANS FX’s vocals affect a boredom you have to actually feel to impart. You won’t hear rich kids singing like this because they’re so used to riding jetskis and chasing expensive girls, but for those of us not blessed with spoons of silver, it’s an emotional plane all too familiar. The Clearing (which also is the name of a Bowerbirds album) is a super-diverse chunk of lofi coal that represents a major progression for a band I’d already been watching intently after that dope LP on Perennial. Whether taking whiffs of mild nostalgia or VU or Modern English, TRANS FX always put their own stamp on a style that might not have been invented yet (I’ve got it: New Bromance). Let’s get together, let’s get together, let’s get together, let’s… get… t’getherrrr.


Cerberus seeks to document the spate of home recorders and backyard labels pressing limited-run LPs, 7-inches, cassettes, and objet d’art with unique packaging and unknown sound. We love everything about the overlooked or unappreciated. If you feel you fit such a category, email us here.

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