For two members of the same band to release side projects would suggest either an abundance of ideas or a desire to break from the confines of working in a band environment. Vocalist Bradford Cox was the first to appear with Atlas Sound, which was as far removed from his manipulations with Deerhunter as possible, suggesting that the only thing Cox was interested in was making noise. This time guitarist Lockett Pundt under the guise of Lotus Plaza (same initials) steps forward to play his hand.
The Floodlight Collective (named after one of first bands Pundt ever played in) is quick to dispel any myth that Bradford Cox is the sole brains behind Deerhunter. Pundt’s work as Lotus Plaza only goes to show how integral his input is in Deerhunter’s sound and his fine melodic work on last year’s Microcastle album [10/10 on Webcuts] is present here albeit in a much more concentrated form, giving off a comfortable familiarity in surroundings that Deerhunter fans will instantly pick up on.
Hints of shoegazer dreaminess abound with The Floodlight Collective revealing itself to be a collection of hypnotic lullabies, where cascading choral vocals and guitars overlap together in warm blankets of sound. Pundt himself assumes complete control, playing all the instruments (with the exception of one track assisted by Brandon Cox), mixing together looped sound collages with wordless vocals alongside more straight-ahead songs like that of opening track “Redoak Way” which bares close semblance to the psychedelic posturing of Cryptograms-era Deerhunter.
The country hop along of “Quicksand” with its Motown-like tambourine-led middle eight show Pundt’s keen musical intuition and along with the Mary Chain squall of “What Gives?” provide some up-tempo motion in what is largely a horizontal experience. The appeal of The Floodlight Collective is that it works on several fronts, firstly as a psyche-pop injection and secondly as a subtle anesthetic in the form of the spiritual (ized) hymnals like “Three Years“ and the Bradford Cox-assisted “Different Mirrors” were the songs are soothing pools of cooing vocals, swirling in My Bloody Valentine-esque whirlpools.
The more experimental pieces take shape in “Sunday Night”, based around a simple electronic loop is effective but its cyclical drone carries on longer than necessary. “Antoine”, the album’s epic evokes later period Radiohead, Pundt sounding oddly like Thom Yorke, but the electronic symphony of the title track and closer “A Needle Threaded” bring out a satisfying conclusion, the latter rising to a stuttering finish, like waking from the middle of a lucid dream where the after effects of The Floodlight Collective is enough to consider faking another sleep just to recapture the moment.