Lotus Plaza – Spooky Action at a Distance

written by: April 10, 2012
Release Date: April 2, 2012


Lockett Pundt is the guitarist for the insanely popular “ambient punk” group Deerhunter. And while Deerhunter’s frontman and lead singer Bradford Cox releases solo work under the moniker “Atlas Sound,” Pundt has taken the name Lotus Plaza. As Lotus Plaza, Pundt released a solo album, The Floodlight Collective, in 2009 to mixed reviews. Now, three years later, he’s back with another collection of his solo work, but unlike The Floodlight Collective, this second LP, Spooky Action at a Distance, is definitely a success.

It’s unsurprising that a guitarist’s solo record is very guitar heavy, and that’s certainly the case with Spooky Action at a Distance. Most songs are powered forward by constant guitar strums, and though the music is very layered and distant sounding, the guitars bring a sort of hypnotic pulse that keeps the listener interested and invested in the otherwise very noisy sound.

Those familiar with Pundt’s earlier work won’t be shocked by the way his guitar sounds here, but they also won’t be disappointed.

Surprisingly, the vocals on the record sound very similar to those found on Pundt’s earlier releases with Deerhunter: filtered and watery, set a little further back so that the guitar strums can take center stage. The vocal similarities are a bit strange because Pundt is in no way the vocalist for Deerhunter, but entirely acceptable because these types of vocals work really well with the trippier psychedelic riffs of the guitar.

Most other instrumentation is kept pretty low-key. Drums are very simple but serve their purpose effectively, and most songs are washed in an echo-y, spacey noise that gives the record some grit but isn’t distracting.

The diversity of tracks on Spooky Action at a Distance is also impressive and worth noting. Some, like the fantastic “Strangers,” are just straightforward jam/drone sessions that keep tempo and noise level consistent; but every so often the album throws a curveball that shakes things up in just the right way. A great example of this is the fourth track, “Dusty Rhodes,” which strips back a lot of the layered sound to bring forth something more tender and honest. Several times it cuts to just the sound of a lone guitar, a powerful contrast with the messier noise that really drives home the emotion that the song is trying to capture. It’s a pleasant switch-up (it also may very well be the best song on the entire album) and songs like it keep the album from getting stale. It is easy to power through Spooky Action at a Distance in one sitting because it stays varied.

Pundt has proven that he knows how to make excellent music. He’s proven it in his work with Deerhunter and he proves it again here. The instrumentation, the sound and the song selection on Spooky Action at a Distance are all excellent.

Those of you looking for something spacey yet noisy, dreamy but rough, are going to love Spooky Action at a Distance. Those of you who love Deerhunter are going to love Spooky Action at a Distance, and even those of you who don’t belong to either of those categories really should give it a try anyway.

Lotus Plaza – Spooky Action at a Distance tracklist:

  1. “Untitled”
  2. “Strangers”
  3. “Out of Touch”
  4. “Dusty Rhodes”
  5. “White Galactic One”
  6. “Monoliths”
  7. “Jet Out of the Tundra”
  8. “Eveningness”
  9. “Remember Our Days”
  10. “Black Buzz”