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%

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