Listening to an Autolux album has always been like being temporarily transported to an entirely different universe, one where disorientation and intrigue are the dominant forces, and embracing the unfamiliar and mysterious is the best navigational strategy. Pussy's Dead, the Los Angeles-based trio's third album, is even more of an immersive sonic experience. The foundation of nearly every song consists of tangled sonic collages built around uneasy, often beautiful arrangements that approach meaning from seemingly impossible vantage points, but still register squarely with the listener s emotions. There is an "electronicness" within the organic wash of these songs, but it comes from digitally deconstructing what's been played by humans, rather than precisely programming synthetic sounds and instructing a computer to play them.
To enhance this feeling, Autolux also made a deliberate choice to de-emphasize electric-guitar-driven music. They deconstructed and distorted what electric guitars they did use. This was a marked change from their previous two albums: 2004's stormy, post-punk-inspired Future Perfect which landed them support slots for Nine Inch Nails, White Stripes and Queens Of The Stone Age and 2010's eerie, synthesizer-and-sample-heavy Transit Transit.
Although Pussy's Dead ended up sounding complex, many of its songs were initially based around simple acoustic guitar and vocals. Creatively, these sparse, sketch-like origins encouraged reinvention. For these transformations, credit goes to Pussy's Dead's producer, BOOTS, who's known for his collaborations with Run The Jewels and Beyoncé, as well as his own rhythmically inventive solo work. After coming aboard, BOOTS immediately clicked with everyone in Autolux so much so that during the studio process, he operated like a fourth member of the band. Sequencing was a priority and the artwork was carefully selected to reflect the music's aesthetic and intent.
The result is a collection whose songs not only stand on their own as individual works of art, but also draw considerable power when listened to in context with each other. Pussy's Dead is particularly transformative: Its intelligent construction and experimental approach make for an album that's not tied down to any era, genre or approach. Additionally, the albums artwork comes courtesy of the Australian contemporary artist Anthony Lister, whose work is a striking combination of technical prowess, spontaneous technique and tradition-flouting.