WHEN mainstream TV schedules reach their logical conclusion and producers are shortlisting musical candidates for Celebrity Human Centipede, it’s unlikely Ed Sheeran will need to worry about losing his spot to Phil Manley, Nathan Means or Sebastian Thomson. After 25 years as one of the American alternative rock scene’s most compelling and influential bands, Trans Am’s latest long-player is released tomorrow as a strictly vinyl edition of 1000 copies – worldwide.
No matter, because California Hotel is the archetypal Trans Am record – a postmodern mish-mash of electronica and guitar-hero abandon, equal parts Led Zeppelin, John Carpenter and Sade (those comparisons are courtesy of the press release, incidentally, and spot-on), and impossibly entertaining.
Whether your bag is vintage synths (Ship of the Imagination, Expansions), balls-out dream rock (I Hear Fake Voices) or, er, more vintage synths (the straight-faced 1980s soul/R&B tribute Rules of Engagement) there is much to savour within the eight succinct tracks on show. And if you dig drums – proper, drop-dead, primal drums – Seb Thomson is unarguably one of rock’s best ever.
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Like its 10 predecessors in the Trans Am canon, there are flaws in California Hotel, but, as ever, the glories eclipse them without breaking sweat. Naughty but niche.