Lotus Plaza: The Floodlight Collective

Deerhunter fans will be thrilled to learn Bradford Cox's Atlas Sound isn't the only group side-venture to appear on wax, now that guitarist Lockett Pundt's Lotus Plaza full-length debut is available. Said fans will be even more pleased to discover how just great the forty-five-minute collection turns out to be. Producer Brian Foote (of Nudge renown) submerges Pundt's vocals in a mix so deep it verges on bottomless, and the material roars forth in a hallucinogenic blaze that calls to mind The Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine. Like those groups, Lotus Plaza offsets the sweetness of its songs' melodic pop with snarling guitars and ‘60s-styled beat rumble that wouldn't sound out of place at an early Phil Spector session (Cox plays drums on the hypnotic shoegaze anthem “Different Mirrors” but the material is otherwise performed by Pundt alone.)

“Red Oak Way” merges clangorous, surf-tinged guitar melodies with a reverb-drenched vocal in a tune that grows ever more euphoric with each passing moment. Plunging us even further into a ‘60s zone, “Quicksand” buries its buoyant beats in a sea of hazy washes and indecipherable vocals before a twanging guitar hook fights its way to the surface. An apt one-word description for the album's style, “Whiteout” sails forth on a wave of ethereal vocals and chiming guitars that gradually morphs into a blinding blizzard. Showers of piano cascades and driving beats slowly separate themselves from what's largely a swirling krautrock mass during the immersive, seven-minute “Antoine” while the album's title track is a dizzying instrumental supernova at whose center vocals and shuddering guitars can be faintly heard. The Floodlight Collective convincingly argues that Pundt's Lotus Plaza music is just about as fabulous as his choice of group name.

March 2009