In 2008, Bradford Cox was one of the most prolific people in indie-dom. As frontman for Deerhunter (QRO live review), his group released not one, but two records, the much-anticipated Microcastle (QRO review) and the accidental leak-turned-into-a-bonus release Weird Era, Cont. (QRO review). But earlier last year, Cox made his best musical contribution, in his solo/side-project, Atlas Sound, debuting with Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel (QRO review). Cox has been more active on the road than in the studio in 2009, whether in Deerhunter as part of Dan Deacon’s ‘Round Robin Tour’ (QRO live review), or in/as Atlas Sound, on tour with Broadcast (QRO live review of both). Yet he still found time for his second Atlas Sound release, the much shorter-titled Logos, where he delves & grows even more into the Atlas expanse.
The soft, ambient, natural twinkle “The Light That Failed” introduces Logos, and it’s a fitting introduction: Logos is more straight-up ambience, less traditional songwriting, than Cox’s previous work, either as Atlas Sound or in Deerhunter. The first half of Logos is the more ambient side, like the sweet & young “Walkabout” (with Noah Lennox) to the more relaxed “Criminals”. Vocals don’t play a huge part, and nor should they, as when they are introduced on “An Orchid”, they actually make the piece flatter.
For all of that niceness, there’s also a certain sameness & lack of interest to Cox’s ambience. However, he brings more of a song structure to the back half of Logos, starting with more pressure & purpose to “Sheila”, and then the added swishing on the following “Quick Canal” (with Laetitia Sadler). But most effective is actually when Cox strips down (sonically – though his blog is known for photos of it, literally…) on “My Halo” and “Kid Klimax”. While Atlas Sound mostly tours as a group (QRO group review), Cox can also play solo (QRO solo review), and he’s able to carry the weight alone as he gets to the heart of the matter.
The repeating, oscillating “Washington School” feels like a coda, but there’s still the title track, an enjoyable epilogue of relaxed effects. Logos isn’t the redefiner like Let the Blind… or Microcastle were, but another nice addition to Bradford Cox’s always-growing catalog.