Lotus Plaza

Spooky Action at a Distance

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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.

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