When I first heard Autolux's Future Perfect, I checked the CD for a copyright date. 2004? No way. This album sounds trapped in Matador Records' golden years, when FP's slow semi-grunge would've fit somewhere between Pavement and Helium. Then again, Autolux has encountered many delays en route to this album, including an elbow injury suffered by drummer-singer Carla Azar, so the time-warp theory isn't too crazy, but that doesn't mean Autolux is a Creed-esque '90s rip-off. Their sound is better described as Sonic Youth's EVOL splashed with Smashing Pumpkins' Siamese Dream, as long as you ignore those bands' lead singers. Azar and bassist Eugene Goreshter coat FP's dark, feedback-loving melodies with breathy vocals, and the contrast is intoxicating, particularly when Azar sweetly croons all over "Asleep at the Trigger." Meanwhile, Goreshter's falsetto cries over a blistering riff in "Angry Candy" result in a sound too catchy to be man-made, and "Great Days for the Passenger Element" transforms by song's end from a generic acoustic ode to a masterful feedback symphony. Best is "Sugarless," the album's lengthy, ever-morphing single that makes "Black Hole Sun" sound infantile. So who cares if the best '90s grunge album came 10 years too late? I'll still take it.


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