Make time for Atlas Sound

Andy Lesser

When Deerhunter announced they were going to take a “break,” fans were understandably disappointed, but these fans have no reason to be upset any longer; the band’s lead singer, Bradford James Cox, has created a solo album that captures everything Deerhunter was, and everything they could have been.

Cox, who operates under the alias, Atlas Sound, is no longer experimenting –– his new album, Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel, solidly incorporates the best of the ambient, experimental, shoegaze, and electronic genres.

Cox’s wispy voice glides over dense noise just like Kevin Shields’s voice did in My Bloody Valentine; in fact, much of the man’s new music is comparable to the nineties shoegazing superpower, but Cox’s swirling, harmonic sound is also influenced by electronic and minimalist bands like Mum, Mogwai, and Radiohead.

Cox did not just emulate other artists, however; he still created a unique, mature sound in his new album –– Deerhunter’s former front man meticulously utilized every sound, instrument, and effect he could find to create his fresh work of art. Some of the sounds could come from bells or a keyboard, but I honestly can’t tell you; the instrumentation is too obscure.

The successful aspects of this album are most easily heard in “Quarantined” and “Scraping Past,” in which ambient noises don’t completely conquer the music, but innocent, electronic beats keep the songs moving.

Although some people have patience for three minutes of atmospheric noise, most don’t; so even though Cox has mastered the shoegaze style, he’s at his best when he utilizes ambience while he entertains. Songs like “Small Horror” and “Ready, Set, Glow” would work as a soundtrack to a movie, but neither song is an easy listen.

The same is basically true for the entire album; it’s not easy to listen to, but if you’re patient enough, Bradford James Cox, so called Atlas Sound, will grab you. Cox has taken yet another step forward for the growing minimalist rock scene, Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel is a perfect album for those who care to listen.