The subtleties between Bradford Cox’s two main musical outlets, Atlas Sound and Deerhunter, can be, well, subtle at times. In general, though, the former has been the testing ground for Cox’s experimental solo work, while the latter has consisted of his more rock-oriented (but still experimental) full band arrangements.
On the new Atlas Sound album, Logos, these lines are sometimes crossed and blurred. “Sheila,” for example, a droning but somehow poppy dirge, would feel right at home on the last Deerhunter record, as Cox intones, over and over, “We’ll die alone, together…” Over all, the new album has a more organic, cohesive, ensemble tone and construction than the previous Atlas Sound album, Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel. Songs like the eight-minute long “Quick Canal,” featuring Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier on vocals, though, hearken back to that first record, as a whispering programmed drum track skips along under synthesizer waves and thumping bass. The same can be said for the ambient electronics of “Kid Klimax.”
But from the album’s acoustic/IDM opener, “The Light That Failed,” to the ‘60s pop-referencing collaboration with Animal Collective’s Noah Lennox, “Walkabout,” Logos is clearly an ambitious evolution in sound. Whether trading riffs with his fellow band members in Deerhunter or digging into the recesses of his mind with Atlas Sound, Bradford Cox continues to make fascinating and beautiful music.