I must preface this review by stating that I have never been a fan of the work of Bradford Cox. I realize that this is heresy in today’s indie scene, but I really just have a difficult time giving a shit when there is so much more quality music to which to listen. Now I’m not saying the man isn’t talented, he is. His work with Deerhunter is listenable, but I feel like I have heard it all before, and better. I have listened to Deerhunter’s entire catalog and all I am left thinking “Man, this would be great, if My Bloody Valentine had never existed.” Then I go and listen to My Bloody Valentine instead.
So with the release of Bradford Cox’s solo project, Atlas Sound, new album, Logos (Kranky), I approached it with trepidation. Surely the My Bloody Valentine influences would be stripped from the sound and I would finally be able to see what Bradford Cox could really bring to the table creatively. Plus there were numerous high profile guest appearances, most notably Lætitia Sadier of Stereolab and Noah Lennox of Animal Collective, which warranted, at least, a cursory listen.
You know what? On the first listen of Logos, with the lack of My Bloody Valentine influences, it tricked me into actually liking this record. I wanted to listen to again. It was light and airy. There was room to move around in it rather than the oppressive wall of sound that is a Deerhunter album.
But on subsequent listens this album felt familiar for all the wrong reasons. I know that artists rely on their influences. It’s what makes them who they are. But there is a huge difference between being influenced by an artist and mimicking. Bradford Cox continues to come off as an imitator, a highly talented one, but an imitator, nonetheless. While what he is releasing is good, it feels like he has yet to find a voice of his own.
The majority of Logos sounds exactly like Joan of Arc b-sides and not awesome How Memory Works b-sides, but shitty Live in Chicago, 1999 b-sides. When joined with Lennox (Walkabout) or Sadier (Quick Canal), we have the highest points of the album, but ultimately the songs sound like the sum of their guest musician’s full time bands.
I hope Bradford Cox finds an original voice soon, because people will soon tire of a band that continually pull too liberally from way more interesting sources.
Atlas Sound will be playing at Fun Fun Fun Fest on the Orange Stage this Sunday at 3:00 p.m.[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/Walkabout-w_-Noah-Lennox.mp3]
Download: Atlas Sound – Walkabout (w/ Noah Lennox) [MP3]