I get some kind of psychiatric-medical condition, a kind of yet unnamed –tism – an insatiable, dreamy, brain pattern loop I can’t break free from – when I listen to a song I really like. Audiotraffic’s Way Too Long is a case in point. On the day I bought their CD I listened to that song on my CD player about 60 times and then got up early the next morning to fit in a few more listens along with Lost City, TDP and Better. Then…and here’s where my downfall began… I had to listen to Way Too Long just ONE more time before dragging myself in the sour world of my workplace. The thing was I KNEW I was going to miss the bus, but I still played it that one more time, such was my addiction. I arrived at the bus stop in time to see the rear end of the #638 disappear up the street. But did I care? No, I was still singing “I’ve been missing you for way too long, I never knew I might be wrong…” like a total spaz who had wandered too far from her sheltered workshop.
When I signed in at 8.33am my boss smiled that two-faced smile and asked, “Isobel, did you know you have to sign in before 8.30am? (Yes, you bullying, mean-spirited fuckwit, I know.) So I mumbled something about traffic jams and fog (with own matching fake smile) because I just really don’t think Hong Kong bosses are ready for anything as mature an explanation as it was all Audiotraffic’s fault because they make such good music.
Speaking of my undiagnosed -tism, I remember listening to Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros’ Get Down Moses so many times a boyfriend at the time threatened to ninja-star the CD out of the window. So, faced with that kind of brutality in a relationship, I had no other choice. I ninja-starred him out of my life. Some things just give you so much more happiness than others…
The self-titled Audiotraffic CD is beautiful inside and out, with its crisp-looking black and white cover and minimalistic yet sophisticated graphics all relating to the good wholesome processes of playing, recording and listening to music. It’s got all the good stuff you’ve heard the band play at gigs with their distinctive ethereal, spacial sound. It’s like they are playing just around the corner in the hallway outside your apartment.
(I wish… it would be a nice change from the loudmouth neighbours and crying newborns.) An intersection between indie Brit-pop/ shoegazing/ trip hop and US alternative pop/ rock/ country and grunge…theirs is the authentic, sublime formula for the best kind of mind-blowing reaction. When asked about their CD sitting high up on the HMV ‘Charts’ shelves, self-effacing but understandably a little proud guitarist Don Cruz quietly says, ‘Yeah, it’s pretty cool.’
Reviewed by Isobel S. Saunders