Bradford Cox is probably the most overworked creative genius in indie rock today. Nearly every press piece currently produced about the Athens, Ga. native praises his relentless, critically acclaimed work in a broad range of musical outfits, most notably the shoegaze-inspired project Deerhunter. Cox has recently found further praise with Atlas Sound, a solo effort created to receive the totality of Cox’s creative energy, allowing the musician to play a more collaborative role in his four-piece Deerhunter outfit.
Cox supposedly wanted to achieve a more “international” feel with Logos by incorporating big-name indie rock collaborations and shying away from writing purely autobiographical lyrics. In order to maintain the raw, static-tinged effect heard on previous efforts, nearly all of the songs on Logos are first takes, thus preserving the collection’s unrefined, “live album”-like quality. The finished product is true to its aim: a free-spirited journey through various ambient soundscapes, carefully guided by Cox’s expressive artistry.
Hype for Logos began to escalate within the indie-rock blogosphere this past summer when Cox released “Walkabout,” the album’s collaboration with Animal Collective’s Noah Lennox (a.k.a. Panda Bear). The track’s sampled synth hook, from the Dovers’ “What Am I Going to Do?” channels the summer’s soulful energy, offsetting the rest of the album’s subdued, autumnal gloom.
The record’s second collaborative piece is also its most ambitious — and arguably best — track. Cox’s work with Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier yielded “Quick Canal,” an epic hymn complete with yearning keyboard strokes, a delicate bassline and Sadier’s tragically haunting vocals tinged with the French singer’s exotic accent. The track was originally an endlessly compelling 15-minute ode before Cox pared it down to a more reasonable eight-and-a-half minutes. While the edit certainly facilitates the song’s momentum within the album’s overarching flow, “Quick Canal” is so effortlessly alluring that listeners probably wouldn’t have noticed if the song continued into further static abstraction for another five minutes.
While both these efforts stand on opposing ends of the album’s musical spectrum, they fit perfectly into the record’s progression. Cox explained that the album is “a collection of songs. There is no ‘filler.’ There are little scrapbook details everywhere,” according to Pitchfork. These words ring true through the album’s eclectic selections, which include dreamy vocalizations over dark drumbeats (“Kid Klimax”), whispered acoustics (“Attic Lights”) and kitschy electrobeat hooks (“Washington School”). Although these assorted musical soundscapes do not fit under one easily regurgitated genre, the album’s lo-fi melodies flow well together and ultimately allow the record to prevail as a whole.
With his latest effort, Bradford Cox succeeds in challenging naysayers who deride the artist’s propensity for nonstop creative exploration. Through his survey of static-driven ambient rock, he has crafted a truly sublime collection of diverse songs that meld into each other and manage to sound fully integrated. Cox has proven himself as a musical innovator, and this fact shines through his solo work. On Logos, he expands upon his own expressive abilities and succeeds in producing yet another luscious, multifaceted album.