Doldrums: Lesser Evil (ARBUTUS) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Issue #44 - Best of 2012 - GrimesDoldrums

Lesser Evil


Feb 26, 2013 Doldrums Bookmark and Share

Doldrums, aka Airick Woodhead, is the Canadian’s first project since the late ‘00s, when he fronted The Hidden Cameras-championed indie pop act Spiral Beach. That band, despite their riotous, anything-goes live shows, were downright conventional in comparison to Doldrums.

Woodhead seems to have taken his surfeit of musical ideas and placed them in a blender, as beats are chopped up, rearranged, and sampled, melodies loop in on one another, and frequencies bend like tree branches. It’s frenetic, phantasmagoric pop, and it’s often brilliant.

“I can’t pull off my disguise,” sings Woodhead over the Casio-laden tribal percussion number “Holographic Sandcastles,” which sounds like Beck in miniatures. “Singularity Acid Face” approximates the anomie of Black Moth Super Rainbow with its pitch-shifted vocals, while title-track “Lesser Evil” finds Woodhead urging, “If I don’t see it, it’s not there.” These, like all the tracks on Lesser Evil, concern themselves with something of an identity crisis, a push-pull struggle between verisimilitude and simulacrum.

The slinky groove-driven number of “Golden Calf” finds Woodhead fantasizing of escape, and when he bleats, “Our house is burned out and abandoned, waiting for us to return/Time waits in the space you create,” he offers cold assurance that returning to what was the status quo isn’t an option.

And that’s what’s most captivating about Lesser Evil-the manner in which Woodhead conjures a frenzied world replete with regret, unrepentant pleasure, and a foreboding sense of losing it at any given moment. “Somehow I get lost in everyone,” he confesses with detachment on the dirge-like “Lost in Everyone.” And indeed, Woodhead is lost in the myriad sonic worlds he meticulously crafts throughout this sublime album. (

Author rating: 8/10

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