Local Wire

Trans Am

Sex Change starts off re-exploring Trans Am's journeys on the Autobahn, as the echo of Afrobeat guitars washes over the lull of a trance-inducing synth riff. But they move on quickly while keeping the synth front and center on "North East Rising Sun," where droning psychedelic vocals tug against a percolating beat. And by the third track, it's as though they've gone electro-funk. But then the music keeps evolving, adding deadpan vocals, a wall of percussion, and blurts of Belew-esque guitar, until it almost sounds like Talking Heads as raised in East L.A. There's no real unifying theme here — not unless it's an unwillingness to stay in one place long enough for anyone to get a bead on what they're doing, cutting straight from the heavy arena-rock feel of "Conspiracy of the Gods" to "Exit Management Solution," where the synth line works the melancholy side of '80s techno-pop as Asia understood it. Could it use a little focus? Maybe. But there's clearly something to be said for a record whose highlights can range from the vocoder melody topping the disco beat of "Climbing Up The Ladder (Parts III and IV)" to the explosive prog-on-punk attack of "Shining Path."
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Ed Masley