Music Review | posted 11.04.2012
Lotus Plaza
Spooky Action At A Distance
Kranky, 2012
Text Eileen Seifert , Translation Julia Frohn
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Editorial
Cover Lotus Plaza - Spooky Action At A Distance

It’s never easy for side projects of beloved bands, especially when they lead the critics’ lists. From the very first moment, the music is always »in relation« to the other. Hence, there’s always something the renegade is compared to and from which it better be emancipated quickly. The first solo-trip of Deerhunter-guitarist Lockett Pundt, aka Lotus Plaza, seemed too nebulous and dreamy to many listeners; others found that to be remarkable and praised the simple, singular sound. »The Floodlight Collective« (2009) was a muddy pool full of effects, from which the drums echoed and Pundts thin voice emerged in drowning and hypnotic sounds. Dramaturgically, it’s an eternally floating room, in which time can be stretched and slowed down to one’s liking. With »Spooky Action at a Distance«, Lockett Pundt seems to have got his feet back on the ground, so that he’s much closer again to the trunk he originally fell from. The singing is still wrapped in echoes, but much more in the foreground this time. The actual protagonists are guitars and drums. They are the ones always setting the melodic tone, to which the feet start tapping and which sometimes go up so far to the front that you want to jump up and start swirling in an indie-disco-half-circle. The sound is hardly ever very dense, and when it is, it’s only for an ephemerally voluptuous moment (»Out of Touch«). In »Strangers«, the tempo is counted in with the sticks as a kind of open announcement. What follows are looped chords and a repetitive drum-theme. Then it all gets lost in a wall of guitars a lá Interpol, slows down and ends in a final cymbal crash. At other places, tribal-drums and a tambourine are banging (»Out of Touch«); elsewhere, a guitar is being chased garage-rock-style through a psychedelic track (»White Galactic One«). »Black Buzz« is an introverted acoustic track that could easily serve as a slow-dance-foundation. Pundt seems to joyfully celebrate the full spectrum of contemporary-retrospective guitar pop, but remains recognizable in doing so. Still, he’s never really heterogeneous, either. And as good as it sounds, it still sounds as if it’s been heard before: There’s a bit (post-)post-punk here, garage and psychedelica there, 1990s Madchester – hello Charlatans, hello Tim Burgess – and, yes, last but not least Deerhunter! But it’s not always about emancipating from one’s roots, some people are at peace with their family tree. Even the album’s name bears a mystical pact: Einstein’s mysterious long-distance-effect relates to an interaction of particles, which – even after being separated – remain connected; sometimes even for light years.

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