Future Perfect by Autolux
If there's one thing about alternative in the current year that gets me, it's that it doesn't kick you square in your ass anymore. Folky guitars and indie kids with nothing to say over them, soulless electronica—puts you right to sleep. And that's where Autolux's Future Perfect gets it right. The first ten seconds of the album is of Carla Azar's steady, pummeling drumwork, all by its lonesome. Bassist Eugene Goreshter's fading, twee vocals pop in with guitars on loan from Failure's Greg Edwards, and later a noise section akin to a bandsaw against sheet metal takes over. Autolux's sonic template is made clear. The band's endured comparisons to My Bloody Valentine since its inception, but You Made Me Realise-era Kevin Shields Band is about the only incarnation Autolux actually resembles. It's well and truly a sound of their own.
The first half of the record are all noise pop gems, but it isn't until "Great Days for the Passenger Element" that the album really starts to slipstream into its flow. "Robots in the Garden" is a lightning-quick panic attack, hailing icicles of shrill feedback down through cryptic lyrics. "Here Comes Everybody" sneers at hangers-on, which only makes Carla's coo (yes, she sings lead here) on "Asleep at the Trigger" sound even gentler by comparison. "Plantlife" is stunningly hypnotic—the more tender side of grey goo, perhaps. And once you've picked yourself up off the floor after "Capital Kind of Strain" manages to wring startling dynamics from a mix as brickwalled as this, you'll come to realize that, as far as alternative goes, Future Perfect is a goddamn high watermark.