The well-awaited release from Deerhunter guitarist Lockett Pundt’s solo work drops the listener into a sleepy array of riffs, loops, and vocal hooks. Following his previous work, The Floodlight Collective, Pundt shows a change in his melodic tastes that edge towards the cheesy side of psych-pop: using pieces of shoegaze vibes with catchy rhythms and simplistic vocals. That being said, this album is not cheesy and should not be glossed-over for that reason; but, people who are sensitive to cheese (like myself) may take a little bit of time to warm up to it. I was expecting a more sprawling, dreamy soundscape feel, like his Come Back single from February. Instead, Spooky Action At a Distance lands itself at a transition similar to Atlas Sound going from Let The Blind Lead Those Who Cannot See -> Logos.
Basically, AU consists of two crazy dudes hitting objects as intensely as they can. They also match up with guest appearances from Colin Stetson among a couple others. Most of the time, the objects being hit happen to be instruments including keyboards, a steel guitar, audio samples, drums, and wind instruments. The album’s intensity really shows in how damn smart each moment is. Certain breaks pop out as technically stunning, while other songs are beautiful ambient compositions. I was happy with getting to see AU two different times at SXSW, and their live performance really sold me on Both Lights. I could tell that the cheesy lyrics are a part of the act and shouldn’t be judged too quickly. As their first true release since 2007, their sound has changed slightly to a more contained song format, but at no cost of creativity or attention to detail. I’ll be listening to this album for quite a while.