Atlas Sound
Parallax


3.0
good

Review

by robin EMERITUS
November 8th, 2011 | 43 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: you're always down.

Bradford Cox is more comfortable with the lights off. Parallax is proof of that; on the cover of Logos he was pictured faceless, but here he’s in the dark. It feels like a big statement to make- here is a man and his microphone, literally clutching to music- but it also seems like a resoundingly ambiguous one: is this image of Cox stepping out of the shadow, shedding the discomfort that’s put weight on songs like “Agoraphobia,” or is he hiding in it?

For all the ambiguity, Parallax feels like another hiding place. He circulates the happy piano notes of “Te Amo” as some whacky detour from the horrible conversation he is having with himself. Talk about misdirection: “you’re always down.” In a way, “Te Amo” is much like the angriest of Bob Dylan songs, a “Positively Fourth Street” or “Rolling Stone,” in how much of a contradiction it is. Like those songs, it’s practically glowing, the noises moving in a dreamy, euphoric sequence but the lyrics out of step, their delivery chilling and hell, even the distracting album artwork putting the lights out.

The fact that Cox can make a song like this is a testament to how intriguing his career is. Deerhunter could lend themselves Strokes comparisons and little else if it weren’t for the way Cox writes music as conflict. It’s hard to remember Halcyon Digest, a year on, in the way I thought of it then; thinking it was a ‘celebration’ sums up how easy it is to forget the depth in any of Cox’s Deerhunter songs, no matter how comfortable they feel as pop songs. “Coronado” was another one that glowed, but behind the slick sax solos there was a confused man of so many questions and so few answers. That’s the kind of thing that draws you in to the “catchy” Microcastle and Halcyon Digest- the little conflicts- and so how can we not be drawn into the dark spaces in Parallax?

And I certainly am drawn to Parallax. I find it impossible to stop coming back to “Te Amo” and its bittersweet flips of the coin, but at the same time I’m completely intrigued by how impossible Cox makes it to grasp at his intentions on “Modern Aquatic Nightsongs.” The difference, though, is split: “Te Amo” is a working pop song, but I’m not sure Cox wants that so much this time around. Logos had a melodic bent and exciting features that made every adoring indie fan giddy (Panda Bear, say no more), but Parallax is made in some sort of endless vacuum of nothing but Cox.

As a result, it might feel more like a proper album, and maybe even the “comfortable” album we’ve been waiting for Cox to make. But this is only an album in how impossible it is to appreciate out of its context. No “Angel is Broken,” no point in the comedown that follows it in “Terra Incognita.” As for the comfort Cox may have finally found in Parallax, he only finds it in the obscure, the impossible to describe, and the ever-moving. Parallax never stays in one place for too long, regardless of how pretty it remains throughout its entire run. There is no revealing the world behind “Praying Man” or “Parallax” in the same way “Coronado” revealed more than simply a pop genius. Instead, Parallax comes with its own set of intentions, and few of them feel for us.

And for that reason, that lack of inclusion, there’s no rating I can find to do Parallax justice. It feels like a wholly unique masterpiece in ways, perhaps because it is simply impossible to shut off- there’s no turning away from this aching, mysterious music, and even the most basic tracks feel justified by the ominous things happening around the corners. But coming off the open Halcyon Digest, Bradford Cox has turned sharply on his heels for a different type of honesty. And by no means think that because Cox obscures himself he must be disingenuous. That’s never been his problem. But Parallax, unrealised masterpiece or not, sounds like the man in his bedroom with a thousand songs to leave unexplained.



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Jacob R. STAFF (4)
Cox’s newest release is an ever-changing mold of what we want it to be, and if we allow it time it...

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Comments:Add a Comment 
robin
Emeritus
November 8th 2011


4249 Comments


really don't know about the rating so alternatively: 4.5

kanecooper
November 8th 2011


630 Comments


i like this reviewer

i haven't heard this yet

i've been paranoid about downloading music recently and i don't know why*


*i don't actually download music

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
November 8th 2011


10211 Comments


Very good review! :] However, this does read a bit higher than a 3 to me.

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
November 8th 2011


28585 Comments


all this will turn to ash

a change for a peace of mind

Digging: Chris Brown - X

Wildorwhat
November 8th 2011


88 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I honestly don't see the point of you writing a review if you are still so unsure about it. I couldn't really get much out of the review. Personally I love this thing, it does take a few listens to fully appreciate it.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
November 8th 2011


7307 Comments


Dear Robin Smith,

This was an amazing review; I definitely learned lots from it. Also, your rating seems...dare I say it, utterly strange in light of the tone of your review.

Still, *mindpos*

Digging: U2 - Songs of Innocence

Irving
Staff Reviewer
November 8th 2011


7307 Comments


@ Wildorwhat: Read more reviews dude - you'll find this happens quite a lot, both on this site and outside it.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
November 8th 2011


15740 Comments


thank you

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

AggravatedYeti
November 8th 2011


7685 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

like this record a lot robin

letsgofishing
November 8th 2011


902 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I am enjoying this record way too much for the scores you guys are giving it...

Still a great review. i find myself agreeing with the ending of this review completely, it's interesting, the two
different conclusions we come to based off the same reaction .

klap
Staff Reviewer
November 8th 2011


10459 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

wut

Digging: Cymbals Eat Guitars - LOSE

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
November 8th 2011


28585 Comments


parallax: the hypersleep dialogues

myhigherpie
November 8th 2011


3027 Comments


Well, now, I have to get this.

TheMightyMammoth
November 8th 2011


6 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is a great album. I would recommend it to everyone!

robin
Emeritus
November 8th 2011


4249 Comments


I honestly don't see the point of you writing a review if you are still so unsure about it. I couldn't really get much out of the review. Personally I love this thing, it does take a few listens to fully appreciate it.


i can understand this critisism, especially since you're so in love with the record. just wanted to give my views tho.

natey
November 8th 2011


4170 Comments


this will decidedly rule

Xenophanes
Emeritus
November 8th 2011


10594 Comments


Probably a 3 or 3.5 from me. Leaning more towards a 3 because it is really, really boring in parts. Dry, even.

Digging: Grouper - Ruins

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
November 8th 2011


2714 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

"there’s no turning away from this aching, mysterious music"

I did it quite easily, the more I listen to the album the worse it gets. It feels more like an image of interesting music rather than the reality - there's no depth to it.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
November 8th 2011


10211 Comments


I definitely disagree with that; at first it felt like a muddled mess, but it seems to come together with repeated listens

AggravatedYeti
November 8th 2011


7685 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

found this pretty easy to get into in truth.



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