It’s going to be hard to extricate Airick Woodhead, aka Doldrums, from his association to Claire Boucher, aka Grimes. They’ve both set up camp in Montreal, having come from elsewhere (Toronto for Woodhead and Vancouver for Grimes), they’re both releasing music on red hot Arbutus Records, and Woodhead apparently composed much of his debut Lesser Evil on a laptop borrowed from Boucher. If that weren’t enough, Woodhead sounds ready to set the blogosphere on fire with the pyrotechnics on display on Lesser Evil.
And deservedly so, I say. Dumping out the sweet-as-lemonade indie pop of his previous outfit, Spiral Beach, Woodhead is now spiking his punch with hallucinogenic potions meant to make your mind feel as if it’s melting. Man or woman? Dream or reality? Inside or outside? Saint or sinner? It’s all relative on Lesser Evil; one element cannot–nay will not–exist without the other. And so the dichotomy is set: elements of traditional pop and song structure get sucked through a vortex, turned inside out. The glorious, danceable march of “Anomaly” is perfectly named: an unexpected deep disco bass line pins skittering, schizophrenic synth riffs from spinning off into deep space. “Egypt” is the ultimate soundtrack for a beach party on Venus, while “Lost In Everyone” is the sound I imagine you’d get if you dropped a needle into the grooves on a sleep pattern print out.
When it’s all over, and closer “Painted Black” abruptly ends, the silence will startle you back into consciousness and you’ll wonder whether it was all a dream. The answer is yes; Lesser Evil is all of Airick Woodhead’s dreams, the daytime and nighttime varieties combined. May he sleep for a thousand years, if it means we’ll keep getting great recors like this one.
Doldrums’ Lesser Evil is available now from Arbutus Records.