Live: Boy in the Corner. Lotus Plaza, Electrowerkz.

I've never had anything but the utmost respect for Lockett Pundt. He is, in my humble opinion, the principal melody maker within Deerhunter; the sugared heart to make the game both tick with poignancy and tock with a mellifluous propulsion. And yet his is the name scattered with gratuitous t to have been hurled in the trunk and on the back burner whilst Bradford Cox blazes a trail toward Pitchfork omnipotence. Don't get me wrong – Cox' keen ear for a bittersweet hook and a woozy, prosaic ambiguity both alongside Pundt and alone as Atlas Sound makes the gawkiest of men out to be one of the more compelling songsmiths in operation concurrently. Though that it is through the encyclopaedic works of Atlas Sound and not the opaque beauties of Lotus Plaza that we're to thumb at the band's ATP curation in June of next year seems regrettably demonstrative of the power struggle Pundt is faced with. Articulating his artistic vision to Cox, and thereby expressing himself fully can't be an ongoing endeavour envied by many and yet were one to compare this year's Spooky Action At A Distance with Cox' Parallax of last, well, there quite literally is no comparison. Pundt took the lead on Halcyon Digest highlight Desire Lines, and his latest Kranky-released ten-track is a remarkably linear continuation of it. It proves unfathomably profound in its luscious scaping of sound, and plays with a transparent coherency few contemporary LPs do. It's a staggering, if subtle work of a genius to have been suppressed for seasons too long. Though here he is, going it alone and hunting as one amidst the bleakest of midwinters. So how's the haul?

It ought to be established first and foremost that tonight marks, as Pundt is quick to assert, his "last show in a while" under the guise of Lotus Plaza. The sole UK date of a fairly neat and tidy, if relatively tiny European tour may not be the final mile of some marathon jaunt, but for the shy and retiring type that is Pundt it has notably taken its toll. He may have last month turned thirty, although he looks barely a day over thirteen and reacts with an unprecedented reticence to the night's first of few heckles. "I hope you like it", he mumbles in a puff of steam surfing his breath. The reply of an overzealous someone or other? "I like you." It's heaving in here, and the heat only intensifies as his hour wears on. We do indeed like him, and that the room swells as it sweats attests to that. Though his boyish looks are evidently working minor wonders for the estranged Deerhunter too. Yet it ought then be expressed that tonight isn't without its issues. "We're getting there. Slowly" he continues, already ten overdue. It's a belated beginning, and a slow start to match as the screaming guitars of White Galactic One go well and truly awry.

Were one being cynical, it'd have to be deemed indefensibly negligent though as his everything is transmogrified into something all the more loose, and consequently languid in this summertime sweatbox, that stifling intimacy intrinsic to Spooky Action At A Distance is only enhanced. Strangers almost pops with estival effervescence; the once tight kinetics of Remember Our Days are unwound to become as dishevelled as Pundt's tousled coif.

Though more astonishing still is the British lilt the songs are infused with live. Out Of Touch is one of a couple Urban Hymns torn from an Albarn almanac, as it's inspirited skyward by a chorus that already evokes that of Robbie Williams' bellow-along, Strong. Though where the live experience again differs in relation to that which was once committed to record resides down in the clatter-haunted doldrums of the lower end. It may be due to that posthaste setup or something else altogether, but by 'eck are the five-piece relentless on the rhythmic end of things.

This is counteracted with swashes of between-song thalassic psych; the perhaps procrastinatory smudging of the boundaries between self-indulgence, and genuine innovation. Down the side of which of these two sofas do these aqueous snippets fall? I'm still unsure. But slowly; surely Pundt & co. find their feet; the oneiric feel to the full-length; footholds in the cascades of fluid ebb. Yet never is this more oozy than on Pundt's Valentine's Day proffer, Come Back. A shouty barf puked in hallucinatory reverb, it may distinctly lack the directness of the long-player but in paddling in plashes of something a little more experimental, Pundt souses all in a rather more smoggy splendour to go with the perspiration and proclaimed adoration. It is here, also, that whilst remaining the antithesis of what Evan Dando once came to disregard as "the outdoor type", Pundt turns pedalboard fiend to concoct a sticky jam of dense charm. His head lowered and eyes slammed shut in solitude, interaction is achieved exclusively via the medium of overpowering waves of heady groove. Which, arguably, is exactly how the live show ought to be.

But as the songs themselves begin to sweat into one another, we're at times left with a fuzzy, residual muck with the actual track stuck somewhere unreachable within. This becomes particularly frustrating when the otherwise radiant Eveningness is obliterated by a dark, bass-y hum. Vocally, too, where once bright it sounds all too leaden; as though a resurgent autumn already inflicted an unshakable cold on the 'Plaza. Though all manner of gelidity is a fairly distant thought in an Electrowerkz still feeling the effects of a heavy Hallowe'en as the walls seep autumnal fluorescence and eldritch styrofoam oddities. Overwhelming warm, however, is the only thought. Cold (and even the mere concept of) is as distant as summer – the season to which Pundt's airy harmonies are best acclimatised.

And it's this seasonal confusion of sorts that compounds what is already a somehow confounding show. For where Spooky Action At A Distance appeared to signal an embracing of a more extrovert approach, tonight suggests Pundt may be destined to forever be the boy in the corner. Jet Out of the Tundra then trundles buoyantly into being to soft ruffles of faraway keys and tensed coils of guitar, and sounds bizarrely redolent of The Strokes' Is This It. This is indeed it for tonight, and whilst I'm a firm believer in not reading too much into hyphenated prefixes of musical sorts, of those fine desire lines drawn between indulgences self- and over- it's the latter that Pundt momentarily favours.

"That sounded awful. But you guys are awesome." To paraphrase, I still think you're awesome, Lockett. And an outstandingly monumental Monoliths ratifies this. A most faithful rendition, it reaffirms this unwavering faith right at the death. And 'til death do us part, we're still on the side of Lotus Plaza.