Trans Am

With Pines of Nowhere. Sunday, October 7, at the Beachland.

From the Other Side of the Glass Circular Gallery of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum Through early 2002

www.rockhall.com

888-764-ROCK

The protocol for a so-called post-rock show like this one almost demands that the crowd avoid any overt or spontaneous signs of enjoyment while the music is playing. Between bursts of song-ending applause, audience members should stand still, ineptly imitating mannequins in the window of a Salvation Army thrift shop, but nodding their heads occasionally in what looks like the act of chewing a particularly firm piece of gum. What all this is meant to suggest, of course, is enjoyment of a cerebral kind -- an appreciation for the music that goes beyond the crass hooting mocked in the movie Heavy Metal Parking Lot. But behavior like this misses the point of a band like Trans Am: The worn-out forms of rock, especially those of the muscle-car-driving variety, are not only still fun, but awfully funny. It's a point the Maryland trio has proved on its last five albums, as well as on its latest effort, Double Exposure, a split release with San Francisco's The Champs. Dubbed the TransChamps, the band finds snarling enjoyment in the act of raving up the cliché of guitar-dominated '80s rock bands such as Rush and Iron Maiden. Trans Am's music, however, doesn't get held up by this red light of the past; as with its Thrill Jockey labelmates Mouse on Mars and Tortoise, the group uses both outmoded and modern electronic elements to put together its soundscapes. The prog-rock and kraut-rock loftiness is there, and so is the precision playing. Thankfully, the pretension is completely absent.

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