Album Review: Atlas Sound – “Parallax”

January 10, 2012 in Vinyl Tap

Atlas Sound’s Parallax: Track Summary

1 )  The Shakes — Starts out like U2’s “Even Better Than The Real Thing” and proceeds to echo the tongue-in-check lyrics of Stephen Malkmus. The somewhat predictable nature of this song is salvaged by its down to earth feel and punk brevity.

2 )  Amplifiers — Sounds like a mellowed out Deerhunter. Surprising, right? It has a very pleasant, purposefully underwhelming, chorus like something off of R.E.M.’s “Fables of the Reconstruction.”

3 )  Te Amo — Halycon Digest-esc. The use of looping reminds one of Helicopter. The vocal line could have been found on “Merriweather Post Pavillion,” with Bryan Cox yelling the catchy phrase, “When you’re down, you’re always down,” over an electronic fray. A more distant influence is definitely Pink Floyd.

4 )  Parallax — Carries itself like pre-“Loveless” My Bloody Valentine; it has a basic pop progression and melody confronting seemingly meaningless distortion and phonic decay.

5 )  Modern Aquatic Nightsongs — Latin bass groove and percussion provides an interesting contrast to the straight forward chorus. It has a Wilco-esc structure and deterioration at the end.

6 )  Mona Lisa — Has a 60’s folk rock vibe, a sound introduced by The Byrds. This jingly hook was perfected by R.E.M. Mona Lisa could have been on the “Out of Time” roster.

7 )  Praying Man — One of the best songs of the album. The religious themes and manic, even deranged, vocal lines recall “Doolittle” by the Pixies. Cox employs the layerings and simple yet effective instrumentation of the Velvet Underground. A distant and brief appearance of harmonica sounds like Joseph Arthur.

8 )  Doldrums — The lyrics are picturesque with a tint of isolation and omniscience like that of Nick Drake. Brian Eno could have produced this song, with its sweet and airy atmosphere.

9 )  Angel Is Broken — The guitar riff, bass line, and darkly whimsical story reminds one of “The Man Who Sold the World” by David Bowie.

10 )  Terra Incognita — The vulnerability of this track echo’s Lou Reed’s “Berlin.” The themes of transcendence versus human futility in the modern age, as well as general sound, borrow from the more subdued moments of Radiohead’s “Ok Computer.”

11 )  Flagstaff — It begins like a track from Sufjan Steven’s “A Sun Came” and the descent from simple folk tune into pure electronica is disturbingly like “So Much More Than You Think” by Wilco.

12 )  Light Works — And alas, the album resumes catchy folk rock mode like “The Late Greats.” The final track sounds like something from “Murmur” with its pleasant minimalism and provocation of compulsive foot tapping.

-Served up by Will Marsh