Release Date: Feb 20, 2007
Record label: Thrill Jockey
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
After Liberation, Trans Am's grim 2004 meditation on politics, war, and America, the band took a break and scattered across the globe, ending up in corners as far-flung as London, San Francisco, and Auckland, New Zealand. They reconvened in Auckland and New York to record Sex Change without any of their own instruments, and the results show just how much good the hiatus did the band: this is easily the most diverse, yet focused, work Trans Am has done since 2000's The Red Line. Unlike that album, however, Sex Change isn't an epic; only one song cracks the five-minute mark.
To listen to Trans Am is to rock out with the unshakeable feeling that you're not in on the joke. Trans Am have always been intent on making their intelligence audible: they used to do it by packaging brittle minimalism as critical complexity — sort of the way intelligent dance music is intelligent — but more often now they embrace the flashier clichés of bygone musical styles with steely proficiency and implicit sarcasm. It's a cryptic gambit, the antithesis of user-friendly.