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  Atlas Sound  
  Kranky (NA) / 4AD (EUR)  
Release Date:
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It was five years ago this very month (as i type; not necessarily as you read this), that i first became aware of young Bradford Cox, as his band Deerhunter struggled with hardware issues in a performance just after my first encounter with Asobi Seksu (still one of my favorites of the currently active bands). Deerhunter failed to impress, but since then they have gotten their act together and evolved into one of Atlanta's most interesting bands. Additionally, they release a ton of work! I count 5 LPs, 4 EPs at least, as well as several "virtual singles" released on their blog. The thing is, all of this music has consistently been of pretty high quality, and that is quite a feat!

Out of this mass of work, Logos is second solo LP of Bradford Cox under the moniker of Atlas Sound. Atlas Sound is principally just him -- it is a solo project, as opposed to Deerhunter, which is collaborative project. However, on Logos Cox is joined by two friends who are "big guns" in the indie rock world: Noah Lennox of Animal Collective and Laetitia Sadier of Stereolab. But otherwise, this album is one big swirling mess of Bradford-ness.

You see, Mr. Cox's typical mode of operation is to take pop music and filter it through distortion. He takes girl-group harmonic pop and pairs it with a krautrock-esque driving beat, or Beatles-pop under a layer of feedback much greater than Lennon and Harrison could have conceived at their most drugged out days recording The White Album. It is as if Cox is taking the underground, the weird and strange in music, and pairing it with the normal and accepted in order to make both of them more palatable. Either that, or i really need to lay off the coffee today…

Anyway, this is the second Atlas Sound record. On first listen, Logos was not immediately as impressive as the previous record, the awkwardly named Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See but Cannot Feel. However, i think that my initial impression was based on a familiarity factor. Any record that Mr. Cox is involved with is one that you have to devote some time plumbing its depths. Each time, the end result is very rewarding, and if you were to ask me today i would say that Logos is superior in every way to its predecessor. In fact, i will continue to hold that position until about three weeks after his next release, wherein i will be convinced that it is the best thing he has done…

In general, Logos is an album of fuzzy synth washes and Cox's mopey voice fed through lots of echoes. There is more to it than that, but that is the gist of it. In fact, that is pretty much the gist of the Atlas Sound output. However, when the music stands out, it really stands out.

An Orchid seems the most Beatles-esque song here. A slow bass riff thumps alongside a strummed guitar and some thumping flat drums. Over this Cox layers his voice, playing Lennon to his own McCartney. This Strawberry Fields-fetish carries through to Walkabout where Noah Lennox of Animal Collective joins Cox, adding a happy keyboard riff to Cox's steady drumming and light guitarwork. Both of these are happy little numbers, and i think that Cox pulls them off rather well.

However, it is Quick Canal (featuring Stereolab's Laetitia Sadier) that is the real jewel on this record. On this song, Cox gives Sadier the lead vocal and uses his voice as an amorphous background accompaniment. He combines this with a groovy shaking beat, a monotonous yet driving bass riff, and layers of distorted echoing sound that build to a real dense climax in the middle. This is unbelievably catchy for a song without chording!

I also really enjoy Kid Klimax, which feature's Cox's voice uncharacteristically front in the mix, paired with a fun little keyboard loop.

However, there are no snoozers here. Bradford Cox has delivered yet another enjoyable record. While i enjoy the steady stream of releases from the lad, i do hope that the quality level stays this high. Well, given his history of productivity, i suppose that we will know for sure when his next release comes out in six months….

Related Links:

North American Label:
European Label:
Deerhunter and Side Projects Blog:
Atlas Sound MySpace:
Atlas Sound Wiki:


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