Atlas Sound

Before his powerhouse band Deerhunter went on hiatus last fall, Bradford Cox had already retreated into his bedroom to craft his solo debut as Atlas Sound. Even though he's assembled a band to tour behind it, Let the Blind … is a personal, low-key record that reveals itself gradually and in waves of sleepy ambience. After the atmospheric “A Ghost Story,” in which a seven-year-old boy tells us exactly that, the proper opener “Recent Bedroom” is a soupy dream populated with alien sounds. The more propulsive “River Card” has clearer vocals, driving home the album's recurrent theme of being at desperate odds with love. (“You drown me” pretty much sums it up.) Amid so much laptop-driven lushness and spectral guitar work, Cox sings softly and lets narcotic effects drip from his vocals, as well as from instruments like glockenspiel, harp, bowls, bells, and dulcimer. It's all too easy to get lost in, which at times spells boredom, but for every glacial entry there's the rubbery blips of “Cold as Ice” or the unsettling twitching of “Scraping Past.” And just when it feels like things are dragging toward the end, along comes the reverb-soaked cool of the Jesus and Mary Chain–ish “Ativan.” Cavernous and incandescent, Let the Blind … is awash in a mellowing hum of noise and effects, finding cozy new dimensions of shoegaze to nestle into.

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