I never did understand why having a conversation with yourself should raise eyebrows and suspicions about one’s mental state. After all, we all have internal dialogues with ourselves all the time. When your inner conversations are as wickedly delightful and musically inspired as those Blackpaw Society has with himself, externalizing them lets the rest of us in on the fun.
The sole (and obsessively secret) member of the Toronto-based musical project has a habit of approaching music as an experiment. On 2015’s People Doesn’t Care/1955 he played with time and put a contemporary spin on
50s-style pop to dramatic effect. Let’s Destroy Humans takes the concept of unearthing and resurrecting music from the path a step further by getting personal. The nine songs on Let’s Destroy Humans takes unfinished demo material from Blackpaw Society past and fuses it with more recent ideas and recordings. He calls it a “collaboration between my young, stupid self and my older, stupider self.”
Don’t let the self-deprecating tone fool you; there’s nothing simple-minded about the results. From the groovy shuffle of opener “Swamp Kids” through to the wholly satisfying space-rock/folk-fusing finale “Fortunetelling”, Let’s Destroy Humans is a solidly compelling listen. Blackpaw Society easily out-creeps the creepiest Canadian spook-rockers without being overly sinister. Classic pop songs and eerie, eldritch sound effects blend on “Is It Evil” and “The Skin You’re In” to make a hybrid musical beast that makes the Venus Flytrap-faced monster from Stranger Things seem like a poodle. Pulsing piano chords at the opening of “Numerals pt. 1” sound hauntingly familiar and sustain the tension throughout its brief run before “Numerals pt. 2” lets go of the leash, allowing the album’s highlight to run free.
Whatever interactions Blackpaw Society had in the studio with his younger and older selves is ultimately between them; we need not be privy to those conversations to appreciate the art they’ve spawned. I’m just thankful he’s let us eavesdrop in, and decided not to keep Let’s Destroy Humans to himself.