5 out of 5
Produced by: Thackery Earwicket
The first thing I heard by Thackery Earwicket was straight up synthwave, of which I’m not an outright fan, but Thack’s take on it leaned more into the cinematic vibe than the nostalgic, encouraging me to return time and again to that particular album, even though my overall reaction to it was mixed. Going through the artist’s bandcamp, the dude (gal?) has dabbled in quite a bit of genres, from hip-hop, to experimental, to techno, though all bearing a sort of dark or quirky edge that’s quite appealing. This mixed approach is perhaps best exemplified on Daemon, which would seem to be one of Earwicket’s few recordings that isn’t a soundtrack or accompaniment to an art show, which possibly allows it to be much more consistent as an album, despite shuffling through a half dozen different styles. Each of those styles – opener La Cavale’s rap; the noisy assault and sampling of Oussam Iram Naej; the DFA-y dance of Let It Loose; and various pop and vocal explorations all along those wavelengths – is tied together by Thackery’s warm production and attentive composition skills, which all keeps the genre hopping from feeling indulgent: it’s clearly touched by the same fingers; aimed toward a particular effect of keeping the listener engaged and listening, dodging into unknowns – see the sudden darkly celebratory pomp of Requiem in the album’s middle – just when it seems like things have settled down into a more recognizable pace, while also letting any given beat or moment ride out for long enough for a mood to settle.
A magnificent blend of the immediately recognizable – beats and melodies that instantly stick – with an utterly unique sense of flow and composition that properly favors songcraft and memorability over showiness.