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Atlas Sound – Logos

November 25, 2010

Atlas Sound – Logos [October 2009, 4AD]


I present, for your consideration, Logos – an album that has brought me great enjoyment over the past year. Logos is the sophomore release from Georgia based one-man-band Atlas Sound, which is the solo project of Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox.

Last.fm informs me that I should expect my ears to recognise the genres of shoegaze, experimental, psychedelic, ambient, and electronic... but I don’t have any love for the “genre” system and thus, I don’t really care. So I would recommend that you pay no attention to the lines above – instead, have a listen to the third track from the album, Walkabout.

I must admit, I have never given Deerhunter the time of day (until now), since their albums seemed too dreary and awkward for me to enjoy. I should note, however, that I am very much enjoying their latest release, Halcyon Digest. Nevertheless, it may seem odd that I am so smitten with Atlas Sound, what you may consider a mere side project to Bradford’s multi-platinum (well probably not, but you know what I mean) selling main band.

In my opinion, Atlas Sound is a carefully crafted, fully fledged musical project of its own, which has attracted attention from the likes of Panda Bear’s Noah Lennox for a collaboration on the song Walkabout (to which you may well be listening right now). It hasn’t gone unnoticed – the album reached No. 7 on the Heatseekers chart in the US at the time of its release. Heatseekers is basically the “up & coming new artist” subdivision of the Billboard chart system in the USA, with the UK equivalent being I guess, The Indie Chart… but I’m in danger of veering entirely off topic, not to mention I-Really-Don’t-Care-About-Charts. Anyway, Back to Logos, Bizzle!

Atlas Sound’s first release, Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See but Cannot Feel, is an equally enjoyable if not a little bit rougher elder sibling to Logos, with perhaps a slightly more home grown feel to it. Logos continues where Let the blind.. left off, with smoother, more accessible songs, and thus I recommend it to you now.

Logos is as chilled back as it is frantic, as gentle as it is powerful, but not as clichéd as those last two phrases. I feel lots of modern artists suffer from this cliché syndrome; a need to pour oogles of emotion into their songs above and beyond what is necessary to get their point across, if there is a point at all. But I don’t get that impression from Logos. I enjoy it’s reverberated melancholy vocals, with steady basslines and carefully selected minimalist guitar licks, and find myself coming back to this record again and again.

For me, this album is stellar from start to finish. But if I must pick some highlights, they would be: the popular Walkabout, with it’s happy beat and haunting vocals not dissimilar to the cheerier work of Animal Collective/Panda Bear; the slow and hypnotising  “Criminals” (This criminal/Walked into my room/He asked me/Why do you live this way?); the cleverly layered ambient-esque Quick Canal; and the down-right chilled Washington School. But those would be if you were really forcing me.. I highly recommend you give this whole album a listen. I like it a lot.

p.s. the cover is a picture of Bradford, who has Marfan syndrome.. hence the weird looking chest.

and here’s another song, Criminals

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