Atlas Sound: Parallax
Alternative & Indie
His cult fame as frontman of experimental rockers Deerhunter
has rewarded momentum to Bradford Cox’s solo project Atlas Sound. Still
active in both endeavours, Cox works on the mantra that time waits for no man,
and has churned out eight albums since 2005.
Like Deerhunter’s gradual break from earlier
experimental records to the much more lucid Halcyon Digest in 2010, Cox
has similarly delivered Parallax as a much more articulate and solid
piece of work. This isn’t to say the twelve songs are awash in a sea of
sameness or even regularity. But had some of these appeared anywhere among some
of the mainstream rock acts in the last fifty years, they would have had no
trouble making their way into the mainstream psyche.
For example, ‘The Shakes’, in which Cox sings
through the mind of a musician weary of fame, sets a classic melancholic David
Bowie sentiment to a 50s track. However, a song like ‘Te Amo’ reeks
of 80s light synths, intermittent electronic bass notes and echoed vocals. The
same can be said for ‘Modern Aquatic Nightsongs’, which is one of
the simpler and stripped down tracks.
Title track ‘Parallax’ and
‘Lightsworks’ visit 60s psychedelia, with the latter in particular
using the harmonica to a muted Bob Dylan effect.
‘Mona Lisa’, which features MGMT frontman Andrew
VanWyngarde, is one of a number of songs that, in contrast to the darker Atlas
Sound back catalogue, is an uncomplicated but catchy indie-folk jingle of a
song. In similar fashion, ‘Praying Man’ is given edge by the
simultaneous verve and strain of Cox’s voice. ‘My Angel is
Broken’ also conveys the same solemn but hopeful sound.
Cox continues to channel and challenge his influences;
he’s a true pupil of rock music. The thing that Cox excels at most is how
he uses his voice; he creates melodies with his vocals, and always compliments
his intricately constructed instrumentals instead of just following them.
It’s how he can stand to be influenced by such an eclectic range of music
and still sound interesting, dreamy and timeless.