Saturday, March 29, 2008

Atlas Sound - Let the Blind Lead Those Who See but Cannot Feel

Let the Blind Lead Those Who See but Cannot Feel (CD) – Kranky

Atlas Sound is Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox and Let the Blind Lead Those Who See but Cannot Feel is his first full-length solo release. It’s an atmospheric, fuzzed-out effort, shot straight out of Cox’s bedroom in Atlanta, Georgia. With that in mind, you can expect less guitar and more electronics and multi-tracking throughout. As the song titles suggest, Cox’s focus is autobiographical here. These are tales of young love, but love always with a twist and even a bite. Tales also of anxiety, death, disease and addiction. Sonically, Cox sometimes channels something akin to Vangelis meets shoegaze: “Winter Vacation,” for example, opens with all the chilly austerity of a Vangelis soundtrack. “Cold as Ice” sounds more like tripped-out Herbert though and “Scraping Past” more like “drone punk,” the label Cox himself affixed to Deerhunter. Among the most appealing tracks are the narcotic cloud of “Recent Bedroom” and “Quarantined,” a gorgeous show-stopper, with a repetitive tinkling sound to it that reminded me of carousel music. It was inspired by a story about quarantined Russian children, isolated, suffering from AIDS and “waiting to be changed” as Cox sings over and over again. A propulsive bassline gives the track the clearest pop undercurrent of any track on here. Listening advice for this disk? Turn it up, let it wash over you. - Robert Stribley

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