With Deerhunter, Bradford Cox invigorated the classic ’90s indie rock sound, keeping the sugar-rush guitars and lo-fi aesthetic associated with the era, while stirring in a dose of slacker insouciance and a heady hit of dream pop. Logos, Cox’s second album as Atlas Sound, sees him slip further into the latter, a somnambulistic space between waking and dreaming.
Opener ‘The Light That Failed’ submerges you into the record, its undercurrent dragging you down into the unknown, vague and a little murky. The sensory deprivation continues with the shambling, barely there bliss of ‘An Orchid’, the two together leaving you vulnerable and open to the sweetness and relative clarity of ‘Walkabout’, Logos undoubted highlight. The song is a collaboration with Noah Lennox of Animal Collective that sounds like a lost ’60s psych classic with its infectious, damp organ and revelry in child-like wonder. It’s a song that wouldn’t sound of out of place on Lennox’s solo album Person Pitch (as Panda Bear).
Stereolab were apparently a big influence on Cox in his teens and ‘Quick Canal’ sees him unite with Laetitia Sadier of the cult French outfit for eight mesmerising minutes of ambient Kraut-gaze. It’s a song that simultaneously manages to have an intense feeling of forward motion but doesn’t appear to be heading anywhere; it’s the movement that matters, not any kind of grand climax.
Unfortunately these moments of genius throw into contrast the album’s weaknesses, not least Cox’s predilection for mid-paced, stoned folk that make the album feel overlong. It’s revealing that the best moments here are the songs with strong collaborators; perhaps his undeniable talent is one that needs reigning in or shaping by others. I certainly found myself wanting for the dynamism and energy of Deerhunter’s Microcastle. However, the indulgent side-project is a staple of indie music and Cox’s yields more exciting results than most, with Logos best moments rivalling those of his main band.