Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Album Review:
Atlas Sound - Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel

Atlas Sound - Let the Blind Lead...

(Kranky; 2008)


"Scraping Past" [mp3]

Bradford Cox has done it again.

Last month I raved about discovering Fluorescent Grey, the 2007 EP that in many ways picks up where Cryptograms left off. You could say much the same about Cox's first full-length under the Atlas Sound banner. Let the Blind Lead is springtime Deerhunter, Cryptograms worn inside out -- airy ambience with the occasional dark streak.

Go ahead and skip the first track, “A Ghost Story.” In short, it’s a misguided opener featuring a young child’s oh-so-precocious attempt at telling, that’s right, a ghost story. Spoken word is one thing, but this is so much worse, and honestly was enough to knock down the album's score a few good points. Beyond this misfire, however, this collection of atmospheric pop songs rarely stumbles. I’ll admit a few intense listens were required to unearth the album’s intricacies – not unlike my initial experience with Cryptograms – but once more the dense soundplay has begun to give up its secrets.

Atlas Sound does a remarkable job of melding familiar sounds, both from Cox's reportoire as well as the best of his contemporaries'. "Quarantined" would fit snugly amongst Fluorescent Grey's four tracks, whereas "Winter Vacation" and "Small Horror" evince classic Deerhunter. "Cold As Ice" forges Deerhunter with self-titled-era Broken Social Scene. "Bite Marks" and other tracks could be sampling new Field for all I know, whereas the darkest track, "Scraping Past," features impressive bass evoking prime Johnny Greenwood.

Bottom line: if you like Deerhunter, you'll love Atlas Sound. Yet even if Deerhunter hasn't won you over with its brooding hallucinogenics, Atlas Sound's lighter take just might.


Femme Fatale said...

Has anyone else heard this album? What do you think of it? I admit I was surprised by Pitchfork giving it a 8.6... this seems a little extreme.

Though I do like it more every time I listen to it. But still, a 8.6?

SonicRyan said...

It's no Deerhunter, both literally and figuratively, for me, but I like it. I'll be honest, 8.3 might even be more than I would have scored it, but not by much. Certainly a good listen, no doubt about that, but on the whole I'm already ready to hear more from Deerhunter.