Album Review: Lotus Plaza – The Floodlight Collective

[Kranky; 2009]

Deerhunter guitarist Lockett Pundt uses Lotus Plaza as an outlet for his ambient shoegaze experiments, much like how his band’s frontman, Bradford Cox, uses Atlas Sound to satisfy his artsier tendencies. The comparisons between the two side projects of the acclaimed indie-pop outfit don’t stop there; to call Lotus Plaza the ‘little brother’ of Atlas Sound would be an understatement.

Perhaps encouraged by his spectacular contributions to Deerhunter’s critically acclaimed 2008 album Microcastle, Pundt has released The Floodlight Collective, his first full-length as Lotus Plaza. For those who frequent the Deerhunter blog, several of these tracks are merely new mixes of songs that have been posted.. The ten tracks are rich in reverb, rendering Pundt’s lyrics nearly incomprehensible. These vocals, combined with his guitar and drum work flow effortlessly together to create a simplistic, singular sound. Some tracks, such as the album highlight, ‘Quicksand’, are more percussive than expected, and some even expand on the doo-wop sound Deerhunter toyed with on Microcastle. Pundt misses a lot on this record, but when he gets it right, theres some great music to be found. Think My Bloody Valentine, minus the distortion, with more bloops and blips.

The songs on The Floodlight Collective tend to follow a pattern: show some promise at the beginning before collapsing in a daze of reverb and stock Ableton Live presets. There’s nothing new here that we haven’t already heard from other Deerhunter incarnations. Forum users have suggested that these are, “just blog songs we have to pay for this time,” and they’re completely right. It would be nice to see Pundt and Cox do something different for their solo projects, or at least branch out beyond shoegaze trapped inside layers and layers of reverb. There’s nothing in these 44 minutes that we haven’t heard before, and we already know that Pundt is capable of better.