ATLAS SOUND - Let the blind lead Those who can see but cannot fe
One of the latest "true queer art punks" to emerge from the cracked pavement of southern suburban sprawl, Atlas Sound is the solo moniker of Deerhunter frontman / provocateur Bradford Cox. Here on his debut album, Cox / Sound moves out of dank nightclubs filled with eternal existential drone punk, and relaxes at home in his Grant Park, Atlanta bedroom. And this is, essentially, a bedroom album, a collage, mixing the garage rock and ambient electronic influences previously explored with Deerhunter in a new context, with newly explored recording techniques, mainly laptop-based, learned with guidance from kranky artist Nudge's Brian Foote. The result is 14 Songs of melancholy and mania.
This is a true solo album, entirely created and produced by a single person. That is certainly not unique, especially in the contemporary scene. But Bradford Cox's unusual talent is the ability to take a wide variety of seemingly incongruous sound elements, and seamlessly meld them into a cohesive pop narrative. A sunken 4/4 techno beat underpinning "Winter Vacation"? Perfect. Mbira loops running over the top of "Quarantined"? Just what it needed. An insistent, clipped drum roll carrying "River Card"? Masterful. And ultimately it is this innate ability to combine all these disparate elements into a singular whole that makes this album such an enjoyable, and unique listen.