ATLAS SOUND: Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel [Kranky]

One of the most exciting aspects of Deerhunter’s recent Cryptograms was its schizophrenic approach to sound: bone-rattling noise rock one moment, placid, electronica-driven instrumentalism the next. There’s much more of the latter on Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox’s debut as Atlas Sound, a solo album awash in a vaguely psychedelic haze that masks lyrics about being drowned (in love), waking up with bite marks on your back and being so zonked on tranquilizers that you sleep until you feel drunk. While Cox’s narratives make little sense (much of the time, he’s not even singing so much as wailing wordlessly), the music is surprisingly accessible. There are hints of laptop electronica (“On Guard,” “Winter Vaca-tion”), the mesmerizing repetition of bands like Windsor For The Derby (“Recent Bedroom,” “Ready, Set, Glow”) and the gentler side of shoegaze (“Small Horror”). But Cox is at his best when he doesn’t skimp on melody, particularly on the sweet “River Card” and the slinky “Ativan,” which is replete with Velvet Underground-style echo on the guitars and vocals. Kudos to Cox, who could’ve easily just turned up the volume. By keeping things mostly quiet, he’s conjured a sonic universe all his own. [www.kranky.net]

—Jonathan Cohen

This entry was posted in RECORD REVIEWS. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.