3 out of 5
Label: Third Man Records
Produced by: (recorded live)
So you’re not a live band; it’s okay. Not everyone has to be a knockout on stage, and if you do your best work as filtered through some fiddled knobs, so be it.
Autolux, all gloss and slink and juxtaposed crunch, need their studio to thrive. While the Third Man live production on this recording is expectedly raw and crisp – favorably highlighting Azar’s stick work, which was already a notable aspect of the band – the stripped down treatment of the vocals doesn’t serve them very well, coming across rather strained, and the guitar riffage sounds looser. On-album, the Autolux sound is somewhat one of control, and the changeup, to me isn’t preferred. The unique compositional flavor the group brings to the table isn’t dimmed at all, of course, and I don’t mean to imply that these playings are sloppy, but knowing the precision-honed recorded versions, the live cuts do come across like demos. It’s an okay way to fill the gap between albums, but ‘Live’ isn’t a required listen, even for fans, as the versions of songs offered don’t add anything significant to the experience beyond awareness of how much Autolux thrives in a studio.