Bradford Cox was a virtual song machine during the time between Deerhunter's CRYPTOGRAMS and the Atlas Sound's LOGOS, churning out officially released material as well as plenty of songs only available on his blog. Over that span of time, he became a finer and more fluid songwriter, and his music emerged from the experimental fog of his earlier work just enough to give listeners tantalizing glimpses of almost ridiculously catchy songs. LOGOS keeps this push-pull between challenging and charming, yet Cox's second solo album still feels more experimental than Deerhunter, if only because he seems completely unfettered by any kind of rules or concerns about consistency. These songs barely sound like each other, yet they all sound like Cox. LOGOS comes into focus slowly with its first three songs. "The Light That Failed"'s hazy atmospheres slip effortlessly into "An Orchid"'s spectral recall of MICROCASTLE's psych-pop, but it's "Walkabout," Cox's irresistibly sunny collaboration with Animal Collective and Panda Bear's Noah Lennox, that announces that the album has truly arrived--it's as sudden, and satisfying, as tuning in a perfect pop song from radio static. From there, the album hops from sound to sound, ranging from acoustic rambles like "Criminals" to glitchy confections like the kaleidoscopic "Washington School." However, LOGOS' most striking moment is "Quick Canal." Stereolab's Laetitia Sadier lends her instantly recognizable vocals, which pile atop spiralling electronics that stretch for nine minutes, yet somehow feel much shorter than that. And while the album is more abstract than most of Cox's work with Deerhunter, it still favors his subversive pop side far more than his first Atlas Sound album, the insular laptop collages of LET THE BLIND LEAD THOSE WHO CAN SEE BUT CANNOT FEEL. The sugary innocence of '50s and '60s pop remains a major influence here, especially on "Sheila," which boasts a chorus ("we'll die alone together") that is equally sweet and unsettling. Even though LOGOS isn't as polished sounding as some of Cox's other releases, it's still captivating in its relatively raw state. These songs are nearly as wide-ranging and comprehensive as an actual atlas, but Cox keeps charting new territory.
Rolling Stone (p.79) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "[A]n innate tunefulness turns soundscapes into songs that stick..."
Spin (p.74) - "Cox leans toward the beautifully disorganized, dunking Syd Barrett underwater on 'The Light That Failed'..."
Alternative Press (p.106) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "Positivity reaches an unprecedented high on `Walkabout,' featuring vocals by Animal Collective's Noah `Panda Bear' Lennox."
CMJ - "LOGOS shows there's more to this artist than anguish."
Q (Magazine) (p.117) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[T]hese songs feel wonderfully spacious and derive an easy-going charm from his hazy vocals and their one-take recording."