Monday, 25 February 2013

Doldrums - Lesser Evil

Lesser Evil is the debut album from Doldrums, AKA Airick Woodhead, and while this is the first time those names have been mentioned on Popsiculture, we've been hearing them for a while here.

From the eerie opening strains of Lesser Evil - an album that starts with its own dedicated Intro track - it's clear to see why Doldrums is a name that's been whispered in our ears a few times already.

Lesser Evil is not a cynical, carefully constructed crowd-pleaser however, and in many instances it makes for quite challenging listening, while paradoxically demanding that the volume be cranked a little higher.

Each new track is pleasingly dissimilar from its predecessor, and yet there is a common thread that links the whole of this album; perhaps not anything tangible, but a general sense of identity that is there from first to last.

This album of contrasts is well worthy of 38 minutes of your life and at least one full, uninterrupted listen - and luckily for you, it's available to stream in full on SoundCloud.

So, what are we liking about Lesser Evil? For me, it's the quilt-like, patchwork nature of the piece. Individual tracks each with their own identity, yet serving as part of a coherent whole.

Track lengths vary from (not including the 1:07 Intro) 1:15 to 5:54 - tracks 2, 5, 6, 8 and 10 are the ones to buy from the standard track listing, if you judge your 'money's worth' in those terms.

And it's actually not a bad way to assess this album; track 5, Egypt, crams a remarkable audio landscape into its almost-six minutes of vocals, instrumentals and distorted breakdowns.

For once, it seems, the longer tracks really do have more to offer, and are not simply extended by virtue of repeating their chorus and/or last verse - both of which are almost meaningless concepts on the musically contortionist Lesser Evil.

Does a shorter track mean a let-down, though? Certainly not. Track 7, Singularity Acid Face, is the shortest other than the Intro, and still manages to twist and develop during its minute and 15 seconds, creating a hypnotic, serene syrup of noises that lead perfectly into its follow-up track, the album's second-longest song, Live Forever.

Listen out in this for a casual name-drop of the album title, followed by a trance-like layering of vocals, synth and drums that is so much more complex than any description could accurately convey.

If you didn't already hit play on the SoundCloud player above, now's the time - it's well worth it, even if you only listen once. And if you like Lesser Evil, click the iTunes button below to download it.

Rating: 91%

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

R H O D E S - M O R N I N G

When Alyssa Smith tells you to listen to a song, you listen to it - and that's how we just discovered R H O D E S (who we're going to call Rhodes from now on - it's just easier that way!).

M O R N I N G (which, again, we'll write as Morning from here on in...) is a recent addition to Rhodes' SoundCloud profile, and it's perfectly titled, bringing to mind lazy, sunny mornings when you wish time would stand still so you never had to get out of bed.

It's tagged under 'love', and that sentiment oozes from every line and lyric of Morning, and from every caramel-smooth fragment of vocal that's poured into this two-and-a-half-minute gem.

This isn't Rhodes' only SoundCloud addition though, so head over to his SoundCloud profile for more similarly sentimental and magically moving compositions - there are contact details on there too, if you feel like making Alyssa very happy by talent-spotting him.

Alter (play it above) contains perhaps the catchiest refrain of Rhodes' uploads so far, with the touching lyrics "It doesn't matter how long now/I'll wait for you somehow/I'll wait for you".

Its feeling of loneliness and loss is directly at odds with the story that underpins Morning, but for those of us who have tasted both the happiness and the hunger of love, it's not much of a stretch to reconcile the two into one and the same emotion.

Together with Falling, Rhodes' third upload, there's already the makings of an astounding EP here - this is certainly one artist worth watching.

Find Rhodes at: