The man behind the curtain of Kranky’s latest addition to the world of scintillating experimental pop music can often strike a very unassuming pose. On stage with full-time band Deerhunter, Lockett Pundt comports himself with Zen-like precision, sending waves of guitar drones to cascade over eager fans, his eyes usually trained to the floor. From that humble stance it’s easy to overlook that fact that he’s shaping to be one hell of a melodically gifted mastermind, having written two of the more affecting songs from Deerhunter’s latest, Microcastle. The Floodlight Collective (named for the first band he appeared in) forges a reverb-sparkling ascent to the loftiest realms of spaced-out, ’50s-influenced jangle pop, traversing a nebulous array of head-tripping ambiance (with plenty of places to “chill-out” along the way).
Pundt makes better than good on his first release under the Lotus Plaza moniker, paying dues to acts as far ranging as My Bloody Valentine and The Everly Brothers, to The Cocteau Twins and (though far from surprising, yet immediately and comfortingly familiar) his most closely related cohorts in Deerhunter and Atlas Sound.
The Floodlight Collective is a constantly unraveling endeavor whose saturated vocals struggle to find purchase amidst the layers of spiraling, woozy effects. Its most lucid moments pillage the coffers of childhood memory: “watching cartoons, in the living room, the cracked-wood panel walls” from opener “Red Oak Way.” Throughout, Pundt’s voice weaves in and out of the intricate layers of echo-drenched guitars, pattering snares and the otherwise indescribable sound collage, often serving as yet another layer to amplify tone and texture.
While “Quicksand” is an up-tempo ’50s flashback, follow-up “These Years” is an acid-washed lullaby, pure soothing sound. “What Grows?” cops Loveless-era distortion/disembodied vocals, launched ever skyward on a winnowing trajectory. The tinkling piano on “Antoine” feels as if it could be blown away on an errant breeze. Deerhunter alum Bradford Cox covers the sticks on “Different Mirrors,” and Brian Foote (Nudge) lends a hand with production duties, but The Floodlight Collective is Pundt’s singular vision, having written all the songs and having played all other instruments. As debuts go, Lotus Plaza’s is damn impressive, and one more reason why Kranky continues to be the best experimental label around.
Atlas Sound – Logos
Deerhunter – Weird Era Cont.
My Bloody Valentine – Loveless