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April 11, 2012

Album Review: Lotus Plaza ‘Spooky Action At A Distance’

by @thoughtontracks

I feel sad for kids these days.  They have absolutely no concept of so many great things that us mid twenty-somethings grew up with.  Take the English language for example.  “I C U” is not and will never be a sentence.  You can write how it’s pronounced all you want, but to me, it just means you are more than likely ignorant and didn’t do to well on your spelling examinations.  Or the family sitcom.  I grew up with life lessons from Tim Taylor & Wilson, Danny Tanner & Uncle Jesse, Carl Winslow and Zach Morris.  What is there today on modern television that will carry on for generations?  Reality TV featuring fat people shedding pounds and 800 singing competitions?  Please.  And to all my readers older than me, I know, my childhood years were miserable compared to yours.  Every generation likes to puff their chest out and talk about the “good old days” and I’m certainly no different.  But I do have one huge problem with the younger generation, and for that matter, a large majority of my own.  And that is the general death of the ability to listen to an entire album.

The iTunes effect.  The best, as well as maybe the worst, thing that ever happened to listening to music.  Now don’t get me wrong, I am a staunch iTunes supporter and love the access it gives to music.  But albums have been, and continue to be, released for a reason.  And that is because there is something about the experience of spending 30 minutes to an hour engrossed and listening to songs by one artist in the order they want you to.  I have 70.20 GB of music currently on my laptop, but 99.5% of it are full albums, EPs, or complete 7” releases.  I don’t buy or download singles strictly because I believe music is not only best served in album form, but that any musician worth listening to gives you not just one song but an entire collection…a masterpiece of craft if you will.  And I feel that the album is, unfortunately, getting away from general society. iTunes libraries full of only random singles and one hit wonders is the norm rather than the outlier today and that’s just a shame.  Where is the patience people?

This giant rant stems from my most recent album experience: Spooky Action At a Distance by Lotus Plaza.  The solo project of current Deerhunter guitarist Lockett Pundt, it provides everything you want when listening to music.  It’s entertaining, thought provoking, relaxing…to put it in better terms, it piques the emotive core inside of you.  When I began playing the album yesterday evening, it was with a cup of coffee and my work laptop open.  It was roughly towards the end of the fuzzy and subtle second track of the album entitled “Strangers” that I realized this type of listening wasn’t going to work.  This album required my complete and undivided attention.  So the computer was shut, the TV, already on mute, was turned off, and I just sat, listened, and contemplated my life with the music.

The anticipatory third song “Out of Touch” builds from a high fever to a cacophony of sound before leading into the ever thoughtful and nostalgic “Dusty Rhodes”.  It’s the middle of this track where you can begin to hear his friendship with fellow Deerhunter member Bradford Cox begin to reveal itself as an influence in Pundt’s own sound.  The droned out vocals and dark landscape almost sound like Bradford’s solo project Atlas Sound’s work while the following “White Galactic One” brings the end of “Revival” from Deerhunter’s most recent effort Halcyon Digest to life with it’s own full song.

“Monoliths” begins the second half of the album by bluntly stating the introspective themes already established and ending with Pundt singing, “One of these days, I’ll come around” over and over again.  But perhaps the most beautiful and masterful track on the album is “Jet Out of the Tundra”.  Sounding as if you are sitting down in a chair watching photos of your life pass you by, there’s a sense of serenity that forces it’s way out and into the room you are sitting in.

The trio of “Eveningness”, “Remember Our Days”, and “Black Buzz” close out this sophomore effort by continuing the overall mood and overarching themes previously mentioned.  At the end, I found myself with overpowering feeling of tranquility with my life.  This isn’t an album of sorrow in regards to memories, but rather, a realistic and calming journey into each of our pasts.  So while singles are great, don’t forget that the best sounds in life come with A and B sides friends.

Connect with Lotus Plaza via Facebook

Written by Greg Dahman

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