There is an eye of the storm quality that attends this album, like other Atlas Sound outings before it; a paranoid acceptance nudging the listener to an uncanny identification with the fragile human voice buried under the layered camouflage of the music. These songs gaze at you like strangers on a bus, their loneliness paradoxically indicating true togetherness. Early album charmer "Te Amo" is an obsessive love song marked by perfect echoing staircases of guitar. Here, Bradford Cox's croon is in full saccharine swing, haunting the staccato landscape of his longing. At the core of Parallax, songs like "Modern Aquatic Nightsongs" and "My Angel is Broken" are full of nostalgic skepticism; acoustic guitar, varied hisses, and playful percussion conjuring a lost childhood serenity. In "Flagstaff," Cox's voice rises shaking with the pitch of a simple and unsettling guitar progression before disappearing into clock-like noises and warm static. If "Flagstaff" is the album's frightened soul, then album closer "Lightworks" is its mind full of joyful resolve: the stellar culmination of Cox's fascination with 1950s rhythm and early 2000s haze, but somehow wholly his own. It's a perfect closing to an intricate and intimate album which sees Cox at his most listener-friendly.
★★★★ (out of 5 stars)