Calxie #4 – Dr. Feelgood: Albums with medicinal properties.
Deerhunter guitarist Lockett Pundt, despite having the name of a spoilt child of an airhead celebrity, is a shy, slightly mysterious character. When me and my friend Ben went to see Deerhunter in Shepherd’s Bush, he came onto the stage long before the rest of the band to help set up and everyone thought he was a roadie. No one gave the slightest indication that they knew who he was; they seemed clueless that this was one of the people that they had paid money to see play. An average height, brown-haired twenty-something with a faded orange t-shirt and an unreadable facial expression: he looked like a man who has never sought fame and he makes music that sounds of another reality.
His solo debut ‘The Floodlight Collective’ (named after the band he formed in high school) is dedicated to his best friend Bradford Cox and is full of a strange disconnected nostalgia. Simplistic drum patterns and unobtrusively memorable guitar melodies are bathed in a sepia wash of hisses and hums. Vocals rarely sound less like a lead-role instrument than they do here. Pundt could be singing the lyrics to ‘Do Ya Think I’m Sexy’ for all we know because they sound like some ghostly choir in a dilapidated subway tube station, the consonants and vowels smeared until they become one and the same thing. I wasn’t so keen the first time I heard it, but like so many albums I’ve come to be so fond of, it’s a slow bloomer. While it’s abundant in strange punch-drunk prettiness, it feels insubstantial until you spend more and more time with it. After a while, it’s fairly easy to allow yourself to be engulfed in this wonky, sensual soundscapes, gradually noticing the tunes and shapes sliding in and out of focus. However cloudy, Pundt does assert his influences. You can hear very distant echoes of Motown, indie rock and avant-garde minimalism. It also feels like it’s full of mistakes and imperfections, like you’re hearing a warped tape salvaged after a natural disaster, but strangely, this seems to work in its favour.
While it’s hard to get into at first, ‘The Floodlight Collective’ has a lot to offer; it’s a record for listeners like me who love to dig deep and delight in deliberate detail, as well as the daydreamers of the world who like nothing better than to flop on the nearest bed with a record on and see where semi-consciousness takes them. Even though it can be conveniently shouldered into the “shoegaze” genre, it still sounds like a fresh approach. The more time you invest in it, the more it becomes a sedative and a stimulant all at once. I think we can expect great things from Lockett Pundt both in and out of Deerhunter. Have patience because this average white male has a head full of dreams.