Trans Am

Who Do We Think You Are?

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Ever the quick workers (the band has released an album every year since 1997), Trans Am is likely to overstay its welcome if it continues to pass off material like the six songs on Who Do We Think You Are? as worthy of release. The EP was sold on the band's summer 1999 Australian tour and has recently made its way across the Pacific for sale in U.S. record shops. The once-instrumental trio prominently incorporated vocals and Kraftwerk-style electronics into its rawk antics on 1999's Futureworld, but often strayed dangerously close to outright redundancy. The computerized voice that debuted on Futureworld serves as virtual fourth member of the group on this EP, singing and speaking on the first three tracks. Technology can certainly be an asset, but it's not an excuse for ridiculous time-wasters like "Funky Guy" or the seven-minutes-of-the-same-riff monotony of "Slow Response," especially in light of this EP's import price. "When the Method Is Right (Pressure Mix)" has got to be Trans Am's nadir, an unlistenable electro-beat pissed on by screamed-at-the-top-of-lungs vocals. "Crystal Lite (Positive Mix)" spaces out the same beat, then repeats it with barely any adornment for nearly five minutes. The voice returns on "Wildwood Flower," which weakly retreads any number of songs from 1998's The Surveillance album. The only track really worth listening to here is "Surface of the Sun," and it's a shame that it has been relegated to this EP. Nailing down the alienated feel of early electronic music with tasteful synths and a guitar solo worthy of 1982, this nervous number would have greatly enhanced Futureworld. Alas, one worthwhile track certainly does not an EP make. Fans would be much more well served by blaring 1997's Surrender to the Night instead of shelling out money for this.