Doldrums – The Air-Conditioned Nightmare (Sub Pop; 2015)
Montrealer Airick Woodhead’s The Air-Conditioned Nightmare, begins with scorcher,“HOTFOOT,” a song that storms in with grainy laser-like synths jutting out in every direction. Woodhead explores the album’s underbelly with the lower bass layers: the percussion ranges from beats pulsing quickly in 16th notes, to sometimes thumping loud and languidly. Synthesizers battle for space throughout, ambivalent in their tone. On “Blow Away,” one light and dainty synth riff dances over a basal synth, which sounds like it’s being manipulated like a malleable metal. The real charm is its production, some sounds hailing from a manufactured electronic background, to others featuring the inimitable sound of real reverb slapping back off of four walls.
Midway through, “Loops” punches in with a pop beat pleading to be danced to, then breaks periodically for Woodhead’s dreamy voice to amble over his emotional past relationship. “My Friend Simjen” flushes out like a pop song boiled in a pot of chemicals and showered in hallucinogens. A dialogue between Woodhead’s boyish voice and Simjen’s guttural snarl plays-out, while synths are stretched to the brink, and sound like liquid fuzz.
Trial track: “Loops”