The most monstrous drum sound of all is captured on the near-metal apocalypse “Cities In Flame." This is where Trans Am break with the nerdy, electronic music pack once and for all. Or do they? On the very next track, “Am Rhein,” it seems they will have their cake and eat it too. Vocoder vocals meet the thunderous drum sound of John Bonham circa “When The Levee Breaks” for a stylistic mash-up worthy of “The Wait” by Killing Joke.
The journey through pre-digital music would not be complete without an electro-boogie encounter, and Trans Am deliver with “Cocaine Computer.” This instrumental nod to early Tommy Boy acts such as The Jonzun Crew and Afrika Bambaata is perfect, and rivaled only by The Beastie Boys’ “Intergalactic” for white boys getting it right.
“Sad And Young” closes the set on a completely different note. This melodic dirge recalls some of the best atmospheric music of the day, such as The Soft Bulletin by The Flaming Lips or what Steven Wilson was doing with Porcupine Tree and their great Stupid Dream album.
The newly re-mastered edition of Futureworld will be available as a standard CD, but in keeping with the retro spirit of the whole thing, Thrill Jockey is releasing a limited-edition vinyl version of it as well.
In 1982, Prince wanted to party like it was 1999. In 1999, Trans Am partied like it was 1982, and somehow they made it work. It still does, and if you missed Futureworld the first time around, here’s your chance to check out one of the great lost records from the end of the world.