Trans Am - Surrender To The Night - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Trans Am - Surrender To The Night

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:1997-05-02

It's possible to view the latest generation of progressive rock as a futile attempt by its creators to unlearn all the classic rock, MTV hits, and television theme songs ingrained in them from infancy. That is, no matter how much some band of 22-year-old synth twiddlers claims the influence of Morton Subotnik, the basic reference points are inevitably going to be Rush, A Flock of Seagulls, and Miami Vice.

One thing Trans Am have going for them is that they don't try to sublimate or deny their less-than-hip collective unconscious. Rather, they incorporate it into their mix of analog and digital keyboards, bass, guitar, and drums. Sure, the Maryland instrumental trio's second album, Surrender to the Night, takes its share of cues from postrock contemporaries like Tortoise (whose John McEntire produced the album) and earlier electronica forebears like Kraftwerk, but songs like "Cologne" and "Motr" are just as likely to remind us of techy mainstream rockers Boston or screen composer Giorgio Moroder.

The apparent care and construction that went into creating Surrender to the Night make it somewhat more pretentious than the group's thrown-together debut album. Still, it's likable enough, especially if you prefer progressive rock that offers its fair share of aural assaults. Moreover, Trans Am know enough about good old-fashioned rock music to include plenty of hooks, to avoid meandering long in self-indulgent noodling, and to never underestimate the importance of a funky drum 'n' bass groove. --Roni Sarig

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