Sometimes, this approach risks going overboard with disorienting the listener: the third track on the album, “She Is the Wave,” consists of screeching and clanging noises reminiscent of a dentist’s office, and the sound becomes almost intolerably abrasive.
For the most part though, on Lesser Evil’s more aggressive first half, Woodhead finds a balance. “Egypt,” arguably the album’s best track, features a slow, floating melody line over driving percussion that, unlike on many of the other tracks, adheres to a more or less consistent beat, adding a necessary element of familiarity to the noise. The melody is interrupted by bursts of militaristic blaring tones, making the track just unsettling enough.
The latter half of Lesser Evil is more mellow, coming across as fantastical. Only just over a minute long, “Singularly Acid Face” is perfectly weird. The track starts with a yawn and a voice saying, “I wonder were I am,” followed by polyrhythmic, electronic melodic loops, which all eventually become grounded in a two-note bass loop and the brushing sound of wind blowing into a microphone. Elsewhere, the swirling sustained tones and watery plunking sounds in “Lost in Everyone” conjure the sensation of falling. For an instant, Woodhead suspends the listener with the buoyant pop hook “sometimes I get lost in everyone”—and then drops the listener back into free fall, immediately transposing the hook into some incongruous key.
Lesser Evil is a euphoric, warehouse party kind of experience. Amidst a movement of electronic artists striving to be weird, off-kilter, and provocative, Doldrums more or less gets it right.