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Spooky Action At a Distance

Lotus Plaza

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Album Review

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. Spooky Action at a Distance arguably features stronger songwriting than Lotus Plaza's debut: "Black Buzz" and "Dusty Rhodes" paint intimate, largely acoustic portraits of friendship and farewells. Meanwhile, "Remember Our Days," "Out of Touch," and "White Galactic One" are just as charming and chiming as any of Pundt's Deerhunter songs as they exploit the contrast between his homey voice and the sonic castles around it. While the planet-size sound of The Floodlight Collective is missed, Lotus Plaza finds plenty of ways to be subtly trippy, as on "Strangers," where the song slows down so gradually at the close that it feels like time is stretching with it, or when "Jet Out of the Tundra"'s deceptively simple coda expands for several hypnotic minutes. Spooky Action at a Distance might be more low-key than some of Pundt's other work with and without Lotus Plaza, but it's still a great showcase for his winsome songs.

Customer Reviews

Lockett's Hold Hearts

Though Spooky Action At A Distance was indeed released during the throes of the springtime, the inherent sonic-space that each downward guitar stroke and bouncy, delay-ridden note reveals that this is a record that will endure any and all seasonal constrictions. It will soundtrack all things ephemeral from the snow, the sweat or the rustling leaves because Lockett Pundt (Lotus Plaza) has crafted an absolute triumph of an album that features the searing hooks of his more noted Rock-act (Deerhunter) and the prominance of his more-manic bandmate (Bradford Cox).

Opening on a blooming sheet of ambience, "Untitled" recalls the titanic soundscapes of previous album, "Floodlight Collective", and eases the listener into Pundt's shimmering sonics in grand fashion. Uncontent to simply loop majestic, if brief, phrases into oblivion, "Strangers" arpeggiates a blinding guitar hook that follows Pundt through assured scales of hooky vocal work and initiates the album into a gauzy bliss. The just-as-strong "Out of Touch" crescendos into an anthemic chorus that vaguely recalls the equally masterful "Desire Lines" from Deerhunter's opus, "Halcyon Digest" proving that Lockett Pundt may be the most introverted member of the band but remains, nontheless, an absolutely essential componant to the songwriting duties pit within the band itself.

There is an ever-contentious non-debate that has plagued Independent Music since the onset of the Aughties. What exactly warrants the sort of fey, limp branding of "Indie Music"? Ramshackle production quality? Thriftstore Virtuosity? This is a particularly relevant question because Indie is a sort of be-all, end-all facade that really is turned into a warning flag for any listener that isn't an all-encompassing music-site frequenter. Lockett Pundt, quiet as he seems, has produced an album so impossibly gorgeous and hook-laden, that Spooky Action serves as a testament to songwriting itself rather than a host of crude genre signifiers. This is not solely "Indie" fodder. "White Galactic One" exemplifies a shoegazing bent with a sizzling fuzz riff but remains a hooky highlight due to Lockett's sublime way with melody. "Monoliths" chorus (of the year) soars into a downright tear-inducing cocaphony because Pundt navigates melodic nuance between each song so consistently that the record has a content circularity that boasts impressive replay-value and lasting testament.

We often mistake antics for moral signposts of importance. People -selfishly- appropriate their own stories onto those who would rather gaze or remain silent, and therefore overlook all the good to be had within a person.

May this no longer be the case.

Spooky Action At A Distance is the perfect marriage between introvert and extrovert. Just supply the memories, please.

Lockett Pundt is Lotus Plaza.

Shoegaze(ish) at a time when shoegaze is no more

For those of us who love My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Slowdive, etc., it's tough to listen to the same few records over and over again without getting sick of them. Thankfully, Lotus Plaza has supplied us with some fresh new drony tunes to swoon by. There are some obvious similarities to older artists' work, but there is too much urgency and brightness to these songs to ignore them just for that.

I'm paraphrasing, but someone once said that the greatest artists don't borrow, they steal. Obviously there are some moments in this album when you can hear little bits and pieces of familiar songs peek through, but that doesn't detract from the beauty of this album. I love it, and my ears are wide open.

pundt

He's the better half of Deerhunter songwriting. Glad to see he's come out with such a solid solo offering.

Biography

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

The project of Deerhunter guitarist/vocalist Lockett Pundt, Lotus Plaza recalls some of his other band's shoegaze-tinged hazy experimentalism and bursts of lucid guitar pop, but takes those sounds in directions influenced by '50s and '60s pop and '80s post-punk. Though he played in several groups during high school, Pundt wasn't in any serious bands until he met Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox in college and joined the fold. Pundt began recording as Lotus Plaza in 2007, playing most of the instruments...
Full Bio

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