Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Atlas Sound – Logos [4AD & Kranky]

The album that nearly wasn’t… Logos lives and sees the light of day after the kafuffle of the demos accidentally leaking and Bradford Cox (the man behind Atlas Sound & front man for Deerhunter) shouting about it being scrapped. But all of that blew over, you can’t hold a man like Bradford down for long, he’s prolific to say the least and consistent too. One of my first ever posts on this blog, when I wrote even worse than I do now and never expected anyone to be watching (to be honest I still don’t expect anyone to be watching…) was about Atlas Sound’s debut album Let The Blind Lead Those That Can See But Cannot Feel a record I fell for after being skint at university looking for legitimately free quality music online, which is where I stumble upon Bradford’s blog with epic amounts of demos. The dreamy bedroom electronica that fused shoegaze soundscapes and melodic indie pop or garage rock got under my skin. So when the debut dropped I was all over it and it’s testament to his talent either on his own or with the band that I’m still looking to his releases when so much indie is leaving me cold, the Deerhunter/Atlas Sound axis really hasn’t had a misstep yet.

The first thing you notice about Logos compared to the one that came before is that its less glowing electronics and more ambient punk, not unlike a stripped back Deerhunter sound with less punk and more ambiance, yet holding back on the fuzz. The first couple of tracks set a dreamy drunken mood with that hazy doo-whop feel that appeared on Microcastles. ‘The Light That Failed’ and ‘An Orchid’ are very strong openers.

The track ‘Walkabout’ with Animal Collective’s Panda Bear aka Noah Lennox has been talked about quite a lot in indie land and rightly so it’s a joyful yet laid back hazy summer afternoon of a track. I’ve never really got on with AC or Panda Bear’s music its always feels like its missing something but here on ‘Walkabout’ it works, it’s like a super lo-fi Fatboy Slim track gone right…

‘Shelia’ goes back to the haunted doo-whop-pop, and its just as catchy as ‘An Orchid’.

But its the centrepiece ‘Quick Canal’ with Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier really brings the album together, it’s an almost nine minuet long hazy journey through glowing spaced out electronics and haunted vocals. It’s maybe the second most electronic sounding piece on Logos along with ‘Walkabout’ and ties it quite nicely to Let The Blind… the previous album. I’m not familiar with Stereolab but the vocals fit very nicely on a track that’s been floating about in demo form for ages on Bradford’s blog.

‘Kid Klimax’ is my highlight of the back half of Logos a half that still seems to be in ore of ‘Quick Canal’ and decides to keep things subdued rather than top that beast in the middle. ‘Washington School’ comes on like ‘Walkabout’ from the darkside, all synth bass and twinkling loops, taking away joyful abandon for hazy dreamscapes and it works a treat. The title track closes in much the same way Logos started in a day dreaming stripped back doo-pop world of its own.

Logos is a very nice album indeed, for me it’s missing some of that bedroom electronica that made Atlas Sound so appealing in the first place, but when that’s there its on point. Plus the adding of the stripped back Deerhunter-esq doo-whop is an undoubted highlight and makes the Atlas Sound project a good varied listen. The simpler feel really lets his song writing shine through so all those abstract yet personal lyrics come out. In a year that indie records have pretty much left me cold, Atlas Sound have pulled off a little gem of a record.



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