CD Review: Atlas Sound – “Parallax” [2011]


Release:
 11/2011
Label: 4AD

1. “The Shakes”- A
2. “Amplifiers” – A
3. “Te Amo” – A 
4. “Parallax” – A
5. “Modern Aquatic Nights” – A
6. “Mona Lisa” – A++
7. “Praying Man” – A
8. “Doldrums” –A
9. “Angel Is Broken” – A+
10. “Terra Incognita” –
11. “Flagstaff” – A-
12. “Lightworks” – A++

Comments: Bradford Cox shall go down in the musical history books as not only a top shelf musician, but as a trusted source of inspiration, musically and not. When I listen to Bradford (as Atlas Sound, as Deerhunter, as Ghetto Cross), I often can’t quite get a grip on what he is conveying, but I know it’s surely meaningful to him. His music creates distinct settings that bring back childhood memories and perhaps other fictitious and dream-like settings. This is particularly true for Parallax, which to date might by the man’s most grandiose work. There’s simplicity in the guise of complexity. Wait, well let me explain. Every song is layered with instrumentation that you might not realize upon first or twentieth listen. This isn’t too important. What’s important is that Parallax is affectionate. It’s not as heavy or ambient as some of Bradford’s earlier work. It’s right there in the middle. The tracks that really stand out to me on Parallax slant towards heavy. These are some of the finest songs that I’ve heard in the past couple of years. “Walkabout” from Logos was my favorite song of 2009. Naturally, I’m interested in finding an Atlas Sound successor to that sort of brilliance. I’ve found multiple successors on Parallax. The first is “Mona Lisa,” which was previously recorded as part of the Bedroom Databank. The version on this record features Andrew Vanwyngarden of MGMT (piano/vocals). There’s such a cozy vibe to this song. Perfect for autumn. A glass of bourbon and walk through Boston Common/Central Park/equivalent to your area. Next is “Angel Is Broken,” which sounds a bit like The Best of Bradford, if there was such a thing. I am particularly fond of the transitions from the verses to the chorus, the “aahhhh-ahhhhh” and the line “you’ll be a lot like…me!” The final song that I’m going to discuss is the final song. This is “Nightworks”. I love the clangy guitar and the Left-Right percussion. The harmonica. The bass line. The build-up to the finale. The song is way affirming and exudes positiveness. “Everywhere I look there is a light and it will guide the way.” The other nine songs that I’ve neglected to mention each have outstanding attributes and will surely have you coming back for more. I’ve listened to this album several times in the past two days and I’m sure I’ll keep going at a similar pace. Parallax will be remembered as one of the most engaging albums of this year, decade, and whatever else.

Grade: A (95)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s