Bradford Cox keeps things simple (well, kind of)

Atlas Sound - Logos
Prior to the release of Logos, Bradford Cox promised that his second album under the Atlas Sound moniker would be more stripped down than last year’s Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See but Cannot Feel. He even compared the new collection to a live album, saying that many of the songs were first takes. Of course, when it comes to an artist like Cox, such descriptions are all relative.

Yes, Logos is more stripped down than its predecessor, but it’s hardly your typical live-off-the-floor singer-songwriter project. The majority of the songs are based on acoustic guitar, but these basic parts are doubled, harmonized, and overlayed with percussion and squelching synths. On opener “The Light That Failed,” layers of guitar pluck a simple riff while swirls of ambience set the mood for Cox’s soft vocals, which fall somewhere in between a whisper and a croak. “Shelia” follows a similar blueprint, although it’s much more catchy and upbeat, the slow-burning middle section giving way to an unabashedly romantic coda of “We’ll die alone together.”

As good as these songs are, the two best tracks on Logos are the ones that sound nothing like anything else on the album. Panda Bear makes an appearance on “Walkabout,” which borrows a sample from ’60s pop band the Dovers and ends up sounding a heck of a lot like something that could have been on Person Pitch. Meanwhile, Stereolab‘s Laetitia Sandler contributes vocals to “Quick Canal,” an eerie, nine-minute electro vamp that’s nothing short of revelatory.

The album ends in abrupt, unsatisfying fashion with “Logos,” a pleasantly chugging groove that suddenly fades out in the middle of a verse. It a strange rebuff to end an otherwise warm, comforting album, yet somehow it works perfectly, making you want to press repeat in search of a more gratifying catharsis. With Logos, Bradford Cox has brought his solo material on par with his work with Deerhunter. And with a prolific musician like Cox, more is bound to be just around the corner.
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