4 out of 5
Label: Red Ink
Produced by: T-Bone Burnett
Before you head off down the “I’m going to start a band” road, let me just give you a heads up: Autolux will probably always be cooler than you.
Picked up to be on the inimitable T. Bone Burnett’s label – and produced by the man, with superstar Dave Sardy mixing – Autolux would then take a leisurely six year pause to play with every other band you love, at every cool festival you wish you could attend. Eventually they even got around to a couple more albums, which are great, just like Future Perfect.
But it’s not just that Autolux seem to arrive with in-built status that’s notable, it’s that it seems… justified. The group you get when you hit play on their debut album has a confident grace to it that most seem to have to struggle through rises and falls to earn. The long gap between albums has never seemed like a big deal because the creative gears at work here doubtfully burn out, even if they were set to work on other, non-musicy things. Eugene Goreshter’s lullaby drawl steps through strong, but not showy imagery; Carla Azar’s drumwork (admittedly punched delightfully way up by both Burnett and Sardy) isn’t afraid to lightly tap out something supportive of to lead the mood with ear-shattering thumps. The rhythm section equally ebbs and flows between hard-rocking distorted riffs and plucked tunes that allow our vocalists – guitarist Greg Edwards and Carla step in here and there – to stay in a gentler range, until any given song surges with a bright flash of volume. (Though our singers are always pretty chill.)
The album’s pretty loudness runs through its variations as we pass about 2/3rds of the way into the disc, making that last part a little less memorable than what came before. The songs are still quality (especially the patient Asleep at the Trigger), but the minor keys and sonic extras sprinkled in the background (an unfortunate Sardy mixing habit) aren’t quite enough to differentiate the tracks.
No matter; you’re already thoroughly convinced of Autolux’s supreme status by that point.