Logos Is Dreamy

October 24th, 2009

I suspect—with the aid of several clues, including interviews, records and blog posts—that Bradford Cox has a rampant imagination. The kind of imagination that would make inventive children jealous. And in some ways, the Deerhunter frontman and Atlas Sound wizard still creates his music through the kaleidoscopic mind of a child, albeit a melancholic one. It’s this sense of sadness and internal strife, stemming from an awkward, diseased (he suffers from Marfan Syndrome), sexually confused childhood, that has manifested itself quite plainly in much of his work. But he also has that creative brain power we all crave, and you know what that imagination is good for? Dreams: those blurry, nebulous brain reflexes that confound us during our sleep and enchant us during our day. Logos, the new offering from Atlas Sound, essentially plays out like one shifting, streaming dreamscape, filled with a thousand different snippets of sound and image, unfamiliar characters making brief appearances, jarring jubilation and drifting despondency, all buoyed by Cox’s trademark hypnotic rhythms and doo-wop desires.

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Atlas Sound’s previous record, and Deerhunter’s Microcastle to a large extent, revealed the Athens-bred musician to be astonishingly adroit at wrestling with and reconciling his internal struggles in the public eye of the music world. As if we were all flies on his bedroom wall. Here on Logos, Cox is still listening primarily to his own head and heart, rather than his critics or his surroundings, but has generously waved us inside with a slight smile.

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The first two to show up are the unfamiliar characters of Noah Lennox of Animal Collective (“Walkabout”) and Laetitia Sadier of Stereolab ( “Quick Canal”) and help create two of the album’s most stunning songs. “Quick Canal” is an 8 1/2-minute cloud ride with a foggy, entrancing beat, a comforting white-noise squall and Sadier’s heavenly vocals. Everything about it reminds me of white billowy masses of suspended water. The recurring line “I looked in the dirt / and found wisdom is learnt” rings crushingly true. “Walkabout” is almost completely different, with a bright and bouncy keyboard paving the way for a 50s-inspired pop tune. Lennox (aka Panda Bear) illustrates his own fixation with adolescence during his lead vocal turn, singing “to go ahead and change your life / without regard to what is said / and everyone must do the same / you find yourself lost again / forget the things you left behind / for looking back you may go blind”. Written by both Cox and Lennox, these lyrics are evidence that maybe, just maybe, things are looking up.

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“Shelia” is similar in mood to “Walkabout”, with a contagious hook and a message that’s heartbreakingly sweet: “Sheeeee-lia! / we’ll die alone together”. There’s a somber beauty that is illuminated in the guitarless “Washington School”, with a glockenspiel (one of Cox’s favorite instruments) twinkling and shimmering randomly behind a keyboard syncopation. As if singing while sinking to the bottom of an ocean, Cox continually pleas “Shine a light on me”. It’s an easy request to grant.

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Quick Canal

Walkabout

Shelia

Washington School

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Atlas Sound performs on Halloween (!) with the inimitable Broadcast, an extremely “curious” bill at Neumos. Other band Selmanaires have been providing backing band duties for Cox on this tour and will play a set of their own. Get tickets.

Posted by LB | Filed in Album Reviews, MP3s, Music


One Response to “Logos Is Dreamy”

  1. November 4th, 2009 at 8:14 am

    Bones said:

    Awesome…

    I happened on the site and the song when I was very upset
    Loved it. Thanks,

    John



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