Next Score View the next score


    Trans Am, ‘Volume X’

    When Trans Am first emerged in 1995, it turned every club into an arena; and depending on your sensitivity to irony, you were either in the front row or the rafters. It was an experiment in pitting ironic distance against pummeling proximity: stripping the kitsch from analog synths, reclaiming butt-rock gestures, and daring to crash the indie-rock party with an actual party. Trans Am has proven more complex than most critical reductions would suggest, and its 10th album plays like a highlight reel of the band’s best facets. “Reevaluations” blooms from subdued motorik exercise into rapturous abandon; the scorched metal of “Backlash” screams past like a scratched-up Camaro with a new set of subs; the balance of synthetic heat and human heart in “Night Shift” and “Ice Fortress” feels android. Trans Am feels more present than ever here, nowhere more so than on “I’ll Never,” with Nathan Means flirting with sincerity in a vocoded purr: “Come a little bit closer.” (Out Tuesday)

    Michael Andor Brodeur

    ESSENTIAL “Reevaluations”