Atlas Sound

    {grate 3} Bradford Cox, the lovesick Marfan Syndrome sufferer from
    drone-pop band Deerhunter, wants to share all of his secrets. As a product of
    the blog generation, he candidly explains deeply personal issues in interviews
    and posts about his debut solo album under the Atlas Sound moniker, the
    mouthful Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See but Cannot Feel.

    Taking the opportunity to experiment with tones not within
    Deerhunter’s more traditional spectrum, Cox envelops us in a hazy swirl of
    ambient samples and techno conventions. In “Quarantined,” he repeats the same
    two lonely phrases until the blasted arena drums drop in and bring the song to
    a drugged climax. It’s a transcendent experience to hear Cox’s vulnerable voice
    ricochet off the mellow world of echoing keys and percussive flourishes.
    Unfortunately, after a few songs with the same format of breathy vocals
    foreshadowing an instrumental crescendo, it becomes somewhat worn and
    predictable.

    Cox focuses almost none of his creative energy on the vocal
    melodies, which makes for a few forgettable tracks with shoddy one-line
    choruses. “Cold As Ice,” for example, is just a repetition of the song title in
    a dry, unfeeling monotone, ostensibly recorded in one quick take. Gripes aside,
    he proves he can write hook-heavy tunes with the traditional ’60s lounger
    “Ativan.” It blends a detached pop sensibility with cool reverb all over the
    mix, evoking teenage cruises after dark. In many ways, Atlas Sound is to
    Deerhunter as Thom Yorke’s solo work is to Radiohead — more beat oriented, less
    structurally complex and with minimized quality control. It’s an intriguing and
    revealing diversion, but these eccentric artists create better work with other
    musicians keeping them in check.

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