Autolux’s latest record, Pussy’s Dead, is a definite contender for Most Appropriate Album Cover Art of 2016. That the idiosyncratic attitude and overall subversive tone of the songs on the Los Angeles trio’s latest LP and the image of a gold-toothed, maniacal skull shooting weird rainbows out of its eyes are an appropriate pairing is an understatement. Utilizing moody, sometimes distorted touches, skittering beats, and pleasantly dazed vocals, Autolux collect ten new tracks on their first studio album since 2010’s Transit Transit.
With the exception of the album’s final track, the beautiful, plaintive ballad “Becker” which builds upon a gently strummed acoustic guitar, the songs on Pussy’s Dead are remarkably consistent in approach. Instrumentally, the band’s sound is reminiscent of the experimental electropop Radiohead introduced into their oeuvre with their seminal 2000 album Kid A. Vocal duties are shared throughout Pussy’s Dead by all three members of Autolux. At specific moments each of the microphone holders channel a style similar to Thom Yorke’s fragile falsetto.
With its chorus of, “it’s so, so sad to be happy all the time” the album’s opener, “Selectallcopy”, starts things off with a lyric that, if taken out of context, could just as easily be mistaken for a Yogi Berra quote. “Soft Scene” is another standout track that has Carla Azar breathily singing, “cheer up, tune it out, take your mask off, have a shout” over an ultra-thick click-and-thump percussion and bass groove. “Brainwasher” opens the record’s second side with infectious live drumming which segues directly into the dynamic “Listen to the Order” that one minute in explodes into a gloriously fitting overmodulated guitar solo.
There haven’t been many albums released recently where if an inquisitive music enthusiast was lured solely by its striking cover image they’d happily find what’s inside matches what’s outside. Pussy’s Dead, however, definitely falls into this uncommon category. Autolux’s third full-length is a welcome rarity amongst indie record shop shelves, one that will hopefully help this darkly charming recording deservedly find its way into the hands and hearts of curious listeners.