4AD, 2009

Logos quickly became a headache for Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox as soon as word went round he was working on a follow-up to last years lengthily titled and ultimately disappointing Let The Blind Lead Those Who Cannot See But Can Feel. Cox who had fallen in and out of strife with his blog postings since Deerhunter became indie scene darlings, had made the mistake of hosting an unfinished version of Logos on his mediashare account, which unknown to him was accessible to all those who went a-poking. Having used his blog to give away his virtual 7” series under his Atlas Sound moniker, Cox was suitably aggrieved when he found his treasure chest looted, threatening to bury Logos altogether.

Thankfully, he didn’t. Released in early 2008, Let The Blind… was a cold, impenetrable and challenging album. Largely recorded by Cox alone on a laptop it was a distant shadow of his work with Deerhunter, but in the space of 18 months, his talent as an artist has grown to match his stature. Making the record slightly less personal, Cox enlisted the help of Noah Lennox of Animal Collective and Laetitia Sadier from Stereolab to turn Logos into what is very much a laid-back pop-oriented album. Logos extends beyond being just a collection of Cox’s home demos and laptop sketches into an enticing cross-section of musical stylings, from acoustic psychedelia and ambient soundscapes, to lush Germanic grooves and effervescent 60’s pop.

Throughout Logos, Cox has threaded a loose stream of consciousness effect that drifts through his lyrics and into the presentation, the overall effect being one of sleepwalking through song, each track seeming to contain a number of loose vocal takes that drift in and out, while the instrumentation is an uncluttered mix of acoustic guitar, live drums and looped ambient pieces seemingly recorded and assembled on the fly. Opening track “The Light That Failed” falls into this blissful dream-like folk-tronica category while songs like “An Orchid” and “Criminals” bring to mind the phrase (and this is not to be taken negatively) “acoustic shoegazing“.

Logos more enticing moments come via the Sesame Street bounce of “Walkabout” built around a sample from “What Am I Going to Do” by 60’s band, The Dovers. It’s a meeting of two minds, combining Animal Collective’s joie de vivre with Deerhunter’s closeted introspection that together outshines the best efforts of either band. The collaboration with Laetitia Sadier “Quick Canal” neatly breaks up the loose folk-loop feel of the album and almost steals the show with its metronomic groove and Sadier’s gallic angelic voice, and at almost 9 minutes long is Logos centrepiece track. But it’s the unabashed romantic pull of “Shelia” that resonates the strongest with its pared down arrangement and oddly poignant “well die alone together” coda that proves just how effective Cox can be on his own.