Atlas Sound Parallax

Atlas Sound Parallax
He may not be giving away much music these days, but you can't accuse Bradford Cox of being idle. Since 2007, he's either released a brand new LP or EP from his band, Deerhunter, or his solo project, Atlas Sound, every year, on top of the various demos, covers and whatnot he posted for free on his blog. And while the freebies have slowed down, Cox's output has become increasingly outstanding. Deerhunter reached a career high last year with Halcyon Digest, and he follows suit with third Atlas Sound long player Parallax. As the Mick Rock-shot cover portrait suggests, Cox has become gradually more confident as a solo artist, yet no less introspective and self-critical. Working alongside producer and regular collaborator Nicholas Vernhes, Cox has left behind the sense that he's still building songs from fragmentary bedroom experiments, though it probably wasn't intentional. Tightening up his song structures, he still has his head in the cosmos, despite looking, and occasionally crooning, like he's Gene Vincent ("My Angel is Broken"). Whether it's sinking "deep into the ground," as he sings over the shimmering electro-acoustics of "Modern Aquatic Nightsongs" and "Doldrums," or expressing his pop side to the fullest with the hypnotic "Te Amo" and jaunty "Mona Lisa" (previously heard from the Bedroom Databank series, and featuring MGMT's Andrew VanWyngarden), Atlas Sound is still very much Cox working his way through his demons. But Parallax is a marked step forward for one of music's most ambitious and curious songwriters, and thus a sign that it's only going to get better from here on in. (4AD)