Atlas Sound - Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See but Cannot Feel (2008)

Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel by Atlas Sound is like falling asleep peacefully in a jumbo jet, only to wake up realising that it hasn’t left the tarmac. Hold that feeling for a moment, that feeling of frustration after a nice nap, hoping you’ll be transported somewhere else. Bradford Cox is a boy wonder. His dedication to his music, fans and blog is admirable. After listening to an overwhelming amount of half-song/eps from his blog, one speculates how Let the Blind would feel in comparison. Whereas the blog allowed him to upload his blueprint ideas, it almost feels like this debut feels unfinished too.

Some elements from his other band ‘Deerhunter’ have been borrowed to create dark and eerie ambience. Whereas Cryptograms displayed a more garage orientated sound, Let the Blind has trouble deciding what it wants to be. While sometimes it is musically impressive with its deep textures and shoegaze atmospherics. The vocals feel like it’s on cruise control. The debut album has an ethereal and ghostly feeling that transpires from delicate guitar strums and reverberated echoes. The sole feeling from each song is ‘sleep’, as Bradford sings in an almost tired whisper. His voice lingers and evaporates into unfocused nothingness in almost every song. The emotion never hits the mark as Bradford breathes his vocals aimlessly behind disorientating swirls that never feel complete.

The album has a sense of familiarity as he never fully explores outside his comfort zone. Some of the lyrics prevent Bradford from expressing his experiences and feelings as they feel uninspired. Cue ‘Recent Bedroom’, where Bradford sings “I walked outside, I could not cry, I don’t know why”. In ‘Quarantined’ he harmonises dissonantly over muddled delay effects that never seem to go anywhere. ‘Scraping Past’ aims to be disorientating with its minimal electronic beat but comes off annoying and abrasive.

It’s not all disappointing. There are beautiful moments to be heard. ‘Bite Marks’ builds lethargically with its two guitars droning endlessly with his voice sounding defeated but resilient. The next track ‘After Class’ compliments the previous well with its guitar whirling melodically which gives a feeling of reassurance. His ambient tracks fare better as they pour through the ears into the body with a sense of dreamlike nostalgia.

Let the Blind is not necessarily a failure. It never manages to spew out awful tracks, but it never necessarily transports you anywhere. It feels too safe, too comfortable, and too familiar. It feels like better material is coming, because I know it is. He has the talent to create something truly wonderful.

I’ll be waiting.

(77 - AI)
Combined Rating = 69.5


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