With the opening, shimmering, moments of “Red Oak Way,” one could easily confuse it as the first song on the next Deerhunter album. Truth be told, Lotus Plaza‘s Lockett Pundt does very little to separate himself from the main band he’s in. However, like that song’s radiant glimmer and whole exquisiteness, Pundt’s debut album, The Floodlight Collective, is just as easily, one of the year’s superior debuts.
Pundt’s influences play a major role in the music’s composition and in turn, his rooted love for shoegaze textures and 60’s sunny pop glisten on every song. “Antoine” is the album’s resulting centerpiece on an album that feels, resoundingly accomplished. The vocals are buried deep into the mix, expressed as another instrument in the music’s robust surface. And much like “Whiteout,” it lies somewhere in between the subconscious and unconscious realm of ambiguity. The latter just happens to posses one of Pundt’s better vocal melodies, and with a gleaming guitar to boast, it’s a hazy shine that washes over you.
It really shouldn’t come as a surprise that Pundt would deliver such a skillful album either-he co-wrote a lot of Microcastle‘s best songs. And as Bradford Cox is quick to point out: the shy, reserved guitarist is, in fact, a talented musician. Watching them onstage, Pundt had his back to the audience, always looking down, he swayed from side to side, getting lost in his own world. And that’s what The Floodlight Collective is all about, a bedroom album that should be interpreted in its own manner, with its own side to side demeanor.
After the aforementioned, stunning, opener, “Quicksand” follows suit with a hearty, R&B, doo-wop daze. Bouncy bops and pops slide right along, only with Pundt, they’re showered in atmospheric flurries, a glaze of reverb and his Cox-like delivery. A surprise comes in the introduction of “Sunday Night,” and its percussion-heavy romp. But before you know it, you’re swimming in those sparkling, twinkling melodies and this time, they are enveloped by a smudged guitar.
There’s a solid amount of refined ambience on Pundt’s debut and in more ways than one, it succeeds because it comes in short bursts, like the rising climax and shine of “These Years” and the title track-outfitted with blinking synthesizers that grow into a thirsting squelch of boil and rumble. And where others might allow them to go on for far too long, Pundt, intersperses them with the niftiest of touch. It unquestionably allocates for the album’s defining moments, like the chugging rhythm of “Different Mirrors” to win out.
With these tools in hand, Pundt has gathered everything in a celebratory relaxation. And with summer just starting to heat up, it plays the perfect role for those calm Sunday nights of barbecuing and congregating. But even at that, don’t dismiss The Floodlight Collective for the outstanding introduction to Lotus Plaza it is, because in reality, it is a winning release in more ways than one.