By Rob Aldam
February 22, 2013
When the Egypt ep arrived back in the spring of last year it marked a turning point. 22 year old producer and Toronto native Doldrums (AKA Airick Woodhead) had finally managed to channel his talent into a cohesive collection of songs, and coming in at just over seven minutes, the title track was a morphing monster of styles, sounds and textures. He has been a prolific collaborator for a while, but has only been recording and writing in his current guise since 2010. With a lifestyle as transient as his music, up until that moment much of his work had been fleeting.
The release of Lesser Evil is the culmination of a year’s work and looks set to propel him into the same league as Grimes and Purity Ring (he has recently finished touring with the latter). Indeed, Lesser Evils outshines his contemporaries when it retains a strong sense of focus and purpose. This is not always easy given the sheer amount of influences being thrown into the mix. With a plethora of influences from the European club scene to New York avant garde, the one theme running through this album is a pressing need for experimentation, and a desire to explore a DIY ethos.
Whilst ‘Egypt’ may evoke the memory of fervid Mediterranean nights and usher you on a fragmented sporadic journey into the unknown, ‘She Is The Wave’ is a high voltage sonic assault on your brain. Relentlessly creative, Woodhead manages to inject a vitality and spark into the music throughout the album. The only time the album begins to stutter is when he seems to stop and take stock. The introduction to ‘Golden Calf’ could have easily walked in straight off of Crystal Castles and, it stumbles in a few places towards the denouement of the album; leaving open lazy comparisons with all his aforementioned Canadian counterparts.
Lesser Evil is a mighty behemoth of a musical melting pot, bristling with energy, inspiration and creative endeavour. ‘Anomaly’, a song that feels like its been with you all your life, still manages to surprise you at every turn; like a euphoric late night exploration into the subconscious mind. It will undoubtedly be one of the stand-out tracks of 2013. ‘Live Forever’ soars towards glorious nirvana before the pace suddenly shifts and dissolves into another distinct animal.
Recorded using analogue equipment, Lesser Evil is an audacious debut release which retains an organic feel whilst letting the experimentation run rampant.