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Lotus Plaza : Spooky Action At A Distance

Imagine being a talented songwriter in a band with a frontman like Bradford Cox. For Deerhunter guitarist Lockett Pundt, AKA Lotus Plaza, the past few years as sidekick to one of the biggest personalities in contemporary music must have been something of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, he has seen his group rapidly climb up through the indie ranks, helped in no small part by Cox’s habit of playing up to the egotistical rock star/ tortured poet/ drug-fucked sociopath (dependent on mood/ health/ day of the week) stereotype; on the other hand, despite penning and/ or providing lead vocals on some of their finest songs (“Strange Lights”, “Agoraphobia”, “Desire Lines”, “Fountain Stairs“), Pundt – like the other members of Deerhunter – is still seen (or not, as the case may be) by many as a mere background player. Following the muted meanderings of his first solo record, 2009’s The Floodlight Collective, I have to admit I wasn’t too buzzed about follow-up Spooky Action At A Distance – until I heard its lead single “Strangers“, that is; a glorious, dense sugar-rush of jangling guitars and walking basslines with a wistful, melancholy vocal melody to rival Deerhunter’s poppiest moments. Amazingly, it isn’t even the album’s best song. That honour is shared between “Jet Out Of The Tundra”, which offsets decsending piano chord scales against a gliding motorik Dinger-beat, and overdriven see-sawing rocker “White Galactic One“, Pundt’s most overt nod to Deerhunter’s abrasive, post-punk side. With driving live and programmed drums and crystalline guitars that sound like a less stoned Real Estate, all bathed in a shoegazey gauze flecked with buzzing synths and electronic sparks, Spooky Action is an end-to-end triumph, ten consistently excellent tracks that shimmer and burst into bright technicolor in all the right places; all the more impressive considering Pundt has crafted the whole thing pretty much singlehandedly. It’s one of the strongest indie rock albums you’ll hear all year. Maybe Bradford Cox isn’t Deerhunter’s real star after all…

Spooky Action At A Distance is out April 2 on Kranky

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About foamhands

My name is Michael Dix; I'm a decade or so past being down with the kids, but to me new music never gets old. Apparently I like music that sounds like faulty kitchen appliances and ritual slaughter; really I just like what I like, whether that happens to be indie, pop, punk, hip hop, metal, electronica, Afrobeat or jazz. Follow me on Twitter @FoamHandsBlog to receive notifications of new posts and the occasional random brain-fart, and please share links wherever you can. Enjoy!

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