Quarantined by Atlas Sound
Artists from Marcel Proust to Emily Dickinson to Brian Wilson have done some of their best work as shut-ins; add to that list Deerhunter's Bradford Cox, whose lifelong battle with Marfan syndrome led him to take up amateur recording at an early age. Cox turns out music at a ridiculously prolific pace, often posting several songs a week on his blog under the name Atlas Sound. Of course, with such a huge catalog of self-released work, an Atlas Sound full-length seems almost beside the point. But while Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel doesn't radically differ from those previous releases (a clutter of electronic beats, synth-pad textures, music-box samples, and heavily reverbed layers of guitars and vocals still suggest a bedroom-pop auteur who doesn't know when to quit tweaking), Cox obviously put his best tracks aside for his official debut. Fans of Deerhunter's sinister narco-rock may be surprised at how airy these songs feel—where Deerhunter is Fluorescent Grey, Atlas Sound is all gauzy, cotton-candy pink, full of swirling, repetitive melodies reminiscent of Too Pure acts like Seefeel. As is often the case with that genre, certain songs feel aimless and in dire need of an editor. But when they coalesce (as on the tender lament "Recent Bedroom" or the gentle Jesus And Mary Chain pop of "Ativan") it creates a beautiful, truly immersive world tailor-made for hiding and healing.