Album review: Atlas Sound – ‘Logos’

Bradford Cox's second 'solo' outing is so much more than a mere side-project

Much like Starbucks, Bradford Cox has become a ubiquitous presence. What with his work
with art-rock outfit [a]Deerhunter[/a], his involvement in Karen O’s official soundtrack for Where The Wild Things Are, and now this, his second solo offering under the Atlas Sound banner, you’d be forgiven for thinking that such familiarity will start to breed contempt. But you’d be way
off the mark.

There are two things you should know about this unlikely lo-fi hero of gangly deportment (he has Marfan Syndrome, a genetic disorder that stretches his limbs and strains his heart) and a girlish speaking voice (the affliction for this is yet uncertain). Firstly, it is impossible to dislike him (just see Wayne Coyne’s spoof argument with him on YouTube, branding Cox a “dick”). Secondly, his creative output has proved him to be one of – if not the – most forward-thinking and inspiring musicians of our generation.

So, as Cox takes time out from Deerhunter, along comes ‘Logos’. Less of an experimental minefield than its predecessor, ‘Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel’, it sees Cox weave in and out of dream-like sequences, such as the sombre ‘The Light That Failed’ and ‘Quick Canal’, the latter featuring the sweetly masculine vocal of [a]Stereolab[/a]’s Laetitia Sadier; while ‘An Orchid’ pitches in as the aural equivalent of a David Lynch storyboard, guided along with looped noises and whimsical vocals.

It’d be easy to overlook Cox’s lyrics when the soundscapes are this rich and ornate, but there’s a delicate exploration of the most human of sensibilities and yearnings on ‘Logos’. He opens up the emotional vaults on ‘Sheila’, pining softly that “no-one wants to die alone… we’ll die alone together”. Likewise with ‘My Halo’, where Cox reveals “My halo burned a hole in the sky/My halo burned a hole in the ground… so I wait for polarity to change”. There’s much warmth and playfulness to be found here too, the unfeigned honesty and childlish desires expressed on ‘Walkabout’ – featuring the falsetto of [a]Animal Collective[/a]’s Noah Lennox – with its lyric “What did you want to see?/What did you want to be when you grew up?” being a case in point.

Cox may have tagged Atlas Sound as just another side-project, but ‘Logos’ is a clear indication that his solo creative output is just as richly rewarding as what came before.

Ash Dosanjh

What do you think of the album? Let us know by posting a comment below.

Click here to get your copy of Atlas Sound’s ‘Logos’ from the Rough Trade shop.

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