generic serif;”>Parallax is the third studio album from Bradford Cox. The Deerhunter front man is one of contemporary music’s hardest working musicians and this will be his eighth studio album in just six years, indeed the concept of writer’s block seems alien to. Parallax is a dream pop record on all fronts and fuses delayed vocals with electronic noises lower down in the mix.
The album opener is one of the albums finest tracks. Melodic guitars overlap with swirling synths and Cox’s delayed vocal set the tone of the album. The anatomy of many of the songs seems straight forward, like that of Amplifiers, yet some basic production tweaks create a surreal dreamy vibe that remains ever-present throughout the album.
‘Te Amo’ provides a simple piano hook looped layered with one of the few unprocessed vocal takes. One can’t help but acknowledge the surreal vibe with lyrics like “we will go to sleep and we’ll have such strange dreams”. The title track ‘Parallax’ wouldn’t sound out of place in a sci-fi movie as tremolo guitars combine with eerie synths to produce an otherworldly sound.
‘Modern Aquatic Nightsongs’ is another ambient/sci-fi effort, while the acoustic track ‘Mona Lisa’ features none other than MGMT’s Andrew VanWyngarden. The track is one of the highlights of the album. ‘Praying Man’ offers a more gritty sound while ‘Doldrums and Flagstaff’ offer a fragile acoustic sound, layered over an electronic undercurrent of churning synths. The latter also features a multi layered vocal, adding to the dreamlike sound. The album closes with ‘Lightworks’, which offers jangly tremolo guitars combined with the ever-present processed vocals.
Parallax contains some eclectic moods and a diverse range of sounds, yet at the same time it feels somewhat repetitive and bland in parts. The tempo never seems to move passed a walking pace and this contributes to the insipid flavour. It does contain some fine songs like ‘The Shakes’ and ‘Mona Lisa’ yet at the same time it seems rushed and lacks a cutting edge. This is somewhat unsurprising given the amount of material Bradford Cox produces, but one ends up wishing he would produce a more thought out, patient album. 6/10