And so the backlash begins. The coked-up scenesters, artfully ripped jeans hanging off their emaciated frames, are more than willing to continue living off a diet of tinny post-punk riffs stripped bare from the carcasses of Television and Gang Of Four as they wait for The Next Big Thing. For the past two years less, we have been told, vehemently means more; just buy a 20-watt practise amp, spend the remainder on thrift store T-Shirts and pass yourself off as retro. Hell, it worked for The Strokes and now they get to hang around with, like, Kate Moss and stuff. But now, swathed in distortion and reverb, the backlash has begun and in the form of Autolux’s ‘Future Perfect’ it may have found itself the perfect manifesto.
Opener ‘Turnstile Blues’ is a staggeringly self-assured statement of intent. Skyscraper riffs wrapped in fuzz soar over the sound of drummer Carla Azar pummelling every last Meg White-inspired girls-can’t-play-drums cliché into space rock oblivion as Eugene Goreshter’s eerily detached vocals float through the chaos undisturbed. If this sounds inaccessible then it shouldn’t because underneath the vast walls of noise lie eleven perfectly formed pop songs. ‘Great Days For The Passenger Element’ is the most obvious example of this- its world-weary vocals and military drum rolls bring to mind Kevin Shields re-mixing Elliott Smith- but as the album sucks you in, the realisation slowly dawns that every track contains a sugar-coated hook that ingrains itself inside your consciousness. ‘Blanket’ is five minutes of Dirty-era Sonic Youth inspired mayhem while ‘Here Comes Everybody’ is propelled along by an insistent, driving riff offset against the sweetest chorus you’ll hear all year. If good pop music is all about escapism, Autolux have got it nailed.
So let the poseurs remain enthralled by Pete’s addictions and the arrogant posturing of Johnny, Julian and the rest. Allow them to hover self-consciously at the ‘right’ gigs, all the while wondering exactly what they’re supposed to like about the music being played because this won’t last for long. Bands like Autolux are reviving a scene that was in danger of imploding in the face of its own increasingly desperate attempts to pay homage to a list of canonized greats, all the while ignoring that it was the desire of these bands to look forward that made them legendary in the first place. Autolux go against every one of these conventions and, in their desire to make as much fucking noise as possible, have created an album that is life affirming, intelligent and utterly essential.