Autolux Future Perfect

[Red Ink; 2004]

Styles: indie-rock, dream rock, noise rock
Others: Sonic Youth, My Bloody valentine, Yo La Tengo

So this is a little late in coming, I admit it. After all, the year 2004 has long since receded into some remote corner of our memory, taking with it all the lists, reviews and, oh yeah, albums that helped mark it. Yet, I can't help but feel that, oddly, a year just isn't enough time to digest a year's worth of music, and that it is inevitable that among the 'residue' of 2004 releases not reviewed hitherto, some absolute gems will emerge.

Autolux's debut Future Perfect is just such a case. For a while this album would not leave my stereo, and probably received more consecutive spins than any other release of the year. (Even now, it never strays more than a couple of inches from me.) Comprised of Greg Edwards, Eugene Goreshter, and Carla Azar, Autolux is, I dare say, the best thing to come out of California since Pavement. The vocal approach reminds one of Doug Martsch, the guitars of some wonderful mix of Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine, and the drumming -- well, all I can say about that is "Mo Tucker reincarnate." Yet to characterize the band solely by comparisons seems a bit undermining. If songs like "Blanket" and "Subzero Fun" might find easy parallels to Sonic Youth, then what to make of, say, "Great Days For Passenger E," a blissful acoustic-turned-psychedelic anthem for our lost times ("We don't know what side we're on/ Dreaming with our heads cut off") or "Capital Kind of Strain," the absolutely captivating, dream-pop closer?

I often wonder what is the mysterious, latent element in an album that guarantees its widespread popularity (even if only in 'indie circles'). What makes an album like the Arcade Fire's Funeral spread over everyone's lips, and what makes another, say, Future Perfect, just as worthy of mention, be left in the dust? If the answer lies simply in media hype, then let this be my shameless promotion. Currently the band is on tour with the Secret Machines, as the first opening band -- some absurdities are just beyond my reach, I guess. But, pay careful attention to one of the messages on their website: "Autolux says: we have gifts for you if you're nice." Oh, do they ever.

1. Turnstile Blues
2. Angry Candy
3. Subzero Fun
4. Sugarless
5. Blanket
6. Great Days For Passenger E
7. Robots In The Garden
8. Here Comes Everybody
9. Asleep At The Trigger
10. Plantlife
11. Capital Kind of Strain