“Doomslang, the pet project of Joshua McCormack, straddles some heretofore unseen line between The Residents, Bon Iver, and Broken Social Scene. That’s a line I wasn’t sure I thought existed, largely because the quirkiness and hesitancy may not necessarily be fully intentional.
Carrying the highest banner for lo-fi production, “Tonight’s Offerings” sees liquid treatments of hissy, smoky vocals, with tenuous rhythmic treatments of electronic sounds and Moldy Peaches-style guitar playing. There is a certain naiveté to the song – and much of the album – that vacillates between irascible and endearing. “Dawgie Lullaby,” the third track on the record, drifts quietly into what sounds like it could be an unreleased track from Her Space Holiday or old-school Xiu Xiu as McCormack sings with a close-to-the-mic intimacy as his vocals almost turn away before as the necessary chimes and drums come in to flesh the song out. McCormack’s androgynous voice doesn’t soar so much as it flows through the drifting through the terrain on “I’m Supposin’,” a song which capitalizes on the various techniques – spatial, instrumental, rhythmic, melodic – that McCormack tests out through the rest of the album. This is the closest McCormack gets to channeling Kevin Drew, as “Nerf Hospital” sounds like it could comfortable fit on the last third of a KC Accidental album.
McCormack has talent. There’s something to be said for his tiny symphonies and the delicate monologues, but it isn’t without its issues, both formally and structurally; musically, there is a preponderance of stasis, and rather than fully-formed melodic lines, ideas tend to be individual points that rarely fully evolve. Still, I would love to see McCormack iron out some of the technical ideas – and spend more time mastering, especially – that he did here. It would be well worth McCormack pairing up with additional musicians, as he did in “Nerf Hospital,” and more fully fleshing out his musical universe. It’s one that seems worth exploring.” – Tom Dempster
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