Deerhunter’s sound ties together the ambient and the dissonant, white noise and robust beats fairing equally as well. But for his debut solo album as Atlas Sound, Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox has careened toward the former, retreating to his bedroom, a sound shop where twisted knobs and laptop explorations gave way to a universe of heavy textures and understated lyrics called Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel.
Beginning with a child’s voice delivering "A Ghost Story" with a sense of wonderment, Atlas Sound emerges through the robust bass and treble-heavy guitar cycle of “Recent Bedroom,” Cox’s wonderment encapsulated in the simple repetition of the lyric “I walked outside, I could not cry, I don’t know why, I don’t know why.” Over the course of the next 12 tracks, Atlas Sound settles in, comfortable in its repetitious soundscapes that promote Cox’s introspection. Sparkling accents brighten the groove of “River Card,” and “Bite Marks” is shoegazing for the digital age.
Atlas Sound has struck upon a bountiful sound that elaborates on the strengths of Deerhunter’s music. It isn’t perfect, though. Ambient abstractions – particularly the surging “Small Horror” – chill the subtle momentum of the album. Despite these few cases, the world of Atlas Sound feels like a comfortable place, with cushioned electro-sofas and homey sonic accoutrements.
Let the Blind Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel is out now on Kranky.