4AD 2011

Produced and Recorded by Bradford Cox and Nicolas Vernhes.

Tracks –

Side A.

1. The Shakes  (2:57)

2. Amplifiers  (2:49)

3. Te Amo  (4:14)

4. Parallax  (2:46)

5. Modern Aquatic Night Songs  (4:09)

6. Mona Lisa  (3:06)

Side B.

1. Playing Man  (2:48)

2. Doldrums  (4:35)

3. Angel Is Broken  (4:58)

4. Terra Incognita  (6:25)

5. Flagstaff  (5:54)

6. Lightworks  (3:56)

Personnel –

Bradford Cox: Acoustic/electric guitars, collage, drums, electric bass, harmonizer, keyboard, organ, percussion, programming, sequencer, shift piano, synth, tape loop, vocals and vocal drone, Wurlitzer.

Paul McPherson: Cabasa woodblock, hi-hat and kick-drum on B1.

Carrie-Anne Murphy: Saxophone on A1.

Andrew VanWyngarden: Backing vocals, organ and piano on A6.

Photography: Mick Rock

Bradford Cox, face unobstructed for the first time on his latest consanguineous-haunted Atlas Sound album cover looks like the ghost of Gene Vincent; and echoes, to a subtle degree, Jeff Buckley‘s pose on Grace (the sounds within also occasionally stray into the ethereal brooding territory of Buckley Jnr.).

You could say that Cox joins a grand tradition, exuding the signs of loneliness, solitude and isolation in Mick Rock’s captured freeze-frame of the done-up rock’n’roller; his wary gaze sullen.  The album’s dedication to the, untimely and tragic, death this year of Broadcast‘s Trish Keenan, coupled with Cox’s own nervous breakdown and the daily trudge of dealing with Marfan Syndrome, can’t help but lead to further introspection, and a sense of worth in the world.

Parallax then, is a reflective exercise in an obsessives mind: a plaintive series of swooning and crooner-voiced coalesce songs; some picked from the obscurity of his Bedroom Databank Tapes (originally posted on, his day job, Deerhunter blog in 2010) and others taken from recent exploratory pursuits. However, half of the albums tracks have already been avalible for streaming and download since the beginning of the year – us mere mortals who still buy vinyl and CDs, have to part with more money for the same material, months later!

Opening gambit ‘The Shakes’ soon settles us in for the seraph clipped Joe Meek-meets-George Harrison imbued sound. Cooing attentively, Cox sways between the open-wound vulnerability of John Lennon and Roy Orbison.  Overall, the 12-tracks are soaked in a solution of perverse backbeat, swirling reverse, tremolo and reverberation from another era: the Spector-ish eeriness  of melancholic imbued 50s and 60s production hangs heavy; even in the selective choice of instruments, as Cox brandishes both a reverential Gretsch and, unmistakable, Telecaster. Astonishingly (I’m totally serious!) Cox even conjures up the spirited journeyman all-stars, the Traveling Wilburys, on the charming acoustic-led pop paean ‘Mona Lisa’, and harmonica backed wooing ‘Praying Man’.  Rather interestingly, the hallowed choral entities and elegiac jangling guitars also draw comparison to the sophisticated traversing melodies, and aloof cool of Television: especially on ‘Amplifiers’.  The hallmark fluctuations, oscillations, soundscapes are still in evidence, though restrained and tautly controlled; woven into the perimeters of the demarcated boundaries of a 3-5 minute manageable odes.

Blue, morose and somber as Parallax is, there’s also an intrinsic beauty, with gestures of love in the psych-lamented romantic angst ‘Angel Is Broken’, and in the adoption of the Spanish phrase, ‘Te Amo’ (I Love you) as a song title.

Cox’s third LP proper under the trademark Atlas Sound solo appellation, is a ponderous, if not indolent slow-burner. And though nothing immediately leaps out at you, the purposeful realization soon dawns on you that this is indeed a minor revelation; a soulful dip into the inner workings of Bradford Cox.


3 Responses to “Atlas Sound”

  1. […] the lost spirit of a crooning 50s ‘rock and roll’ star on his last outing, Parallax (review HERE), Cox transduced the ghostly reverb and tremolo of Joe Meek and Phil Spector into a therapeutic […]

  2. […] the lost spirit of a crooning 50s ‘rock and roll’ star on his last outing, Parallax (review HERE), Bradford Cox transduced the ghostly reverb and tremolo of Joe Meek and Phil Spector into a […]

  3. […] 40 years old), and a beauty from Bradford Cox’s Deerhunter side hustle Atlas Sound’s Parallax (only a mere ten years old this month). We also pay a special tribute to former New York art-rock, […]

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