Release Date: Apr 2, 2012
Record label: Kranky
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Post-Rock, Experimental Rock
Deerhunter is one of the most fascinating bands going because they're a democracy functioning the way most of us experience democracy, whether in politics or the workplace: fully participatory, but with a wildly disproportionate power structure. With Bradford Cox fronting the group as one of rock's most dominant personalities, it's easy to view Lockett Pundt as following in the lineage of reclusive guitar wizards who serve as a necessary counterbalance. Whether or not Cox goes off the grid any given night, you can catch Pundt standing catatonically still and staring off into the distance when his gaze isn't intently focused on an armada of effects pedals.
The centerpiece of Deerhunter's 2010 masterwork Halcyon Digest was "Desire Lines," a titanic seven-minute slab of friendly psych-rock that devolved into a swirling maelstrom of guitar figures. The architect of "Desire Lines" wasn't lead songwriter/provocateur Bradford Cox, but instead guitarist Lockett Pundt, the Scottie Pippen to Cox's Michael Jordan, who records under the moniker Lotus Plaza. Pundt's 2009 debut full-length, The Floodlight Collective, was a tentative first step into a lead role, an amalgamation of shoegaze, shimmering ambient textures, and guitar and vocals obscured by a thick haze.
In the years between Lockett Pundt's Lotus Plaza project debuted with The Floodlight Collective, a fascinating blur of '60s pop, post-punk, and shoegaze, and returned with Spooky Action at a Distance, Pundt's other group, Deerhunter, had its biggest success yet with Halcyon Digest. It's hard not to feel like some of Deerhunter rubbed off on the way these songs jangle and the way that Pundt's voice is up front and center -- not that this is a problem, since he has an endearing way of bringing Bradford Cox's songs down to earth. Here, Pundt puts singing and songwriting first and sonic experimentation second.
With the positive reception his main band continually receives and an upcoming wedding this year, it comes as no surprise that Deerhunter guitarist and sometimes frontman Lockett Pundt found the ambition and voice to craft a dream-rock experience as rich and rewarding as Spooky Action at a Distance, his second effort as Lotus Plaza. His solo moniker’s debut, The Floodlight Collective, featured nostalgic sentiments obscured beneath hazy tones and grooves, but Pundt’s own Deerhunter tunes such as “Neither of Us, Uncertainly” have always acted as stoic counterbalance to the more theatrical punk sensibilities of bandmate and friend Bradford Cox. On Spooky Action at a Distance, a title arising from his love of astrophysics, Pundt’s exquisite entanglements of vivid pop, lucid electronics, and straight-up rock and roll demand to be heard.
Briefly disregarding the weight that judgment and taste bring to bear, it happens that sometimes, in a self-fulfilling postmodernist twist, follow-up albums just don’t conform to the logical, Hegelian, linear conception of development and progress. To put it bluntly, second albums usually suck. But such is most certainly not the case with Spooky Action At A Distance, Deerhunter guitarist Lockett Pundt’s second effort as Lotus Plaza.
Lotus PlazaSpooky Action At A Distance[Kranky; 2012]By Jay Lancaster; April 4, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGLockett Pundt keeps to himself. He doesn’t do too many interviews. As a member of the ambient-punk outfit Deerhunter, his quiet personality takes a backseat to the eccentricities of frontman Bradford Cox.
Carrying on in the tradition of famous shoegaze sound sculptors before him, guitarist-vocalist Lockett Pundt is pretty, pretty fond of reverb. Both on his solo work (recording under the moniker Lotus Plaza) and with his more famous main gig (the highly acclaimed indie-rock quartet Deerhunter), Pundt treats that ethereal sonic mist as an equally prominent instrument alongside his shimmering, arpeggiated six-strings and droning vocal lines. In fact, his first Lotus Plaza album, 2009’s The Floodlight Collective, was nearly more reverb than actual song—his repetitive, circular melodies disappearing in an emotionally flat fog.
On the surface, Deerhunter have always appeared to be Bradford Cox's band. But Cox has demonstrated that there are four people in Deerhunter, whether through the singular music he makes as Atlas Sound or in interviews. Lockett Pundt may not generate the same kind of attention as his best friend, but his influence in that act (see "Desire Lines") can definitely be heard in his solo-project, Lotus Plaza.