by Patrick Pilch (@pratprilch)
Doffing’s fan forum is a bubbling pocket of poetic introversion and seemingly random conversation points. One post boasts the flexible functionality of Nike’s Air Force 1’s. Another asks readers to “post pics of ur fave sword” in preparation of Tower of Ten Thousand Miles. The best posts are miniature, neo-gothic poems and ramblings by galactic travelers, internet existentialists and shower thinkers. This “realm” is representative of Doffing’s aesthetic—highly personal, notably ruminative and admittedly geeky. The band is still quite under the radar, but they’ve already begun to carve a lore-heavy persona for themselves alongside their increasingly spectacular tunes.
Tower of Ten Thousand Miles is the first proper full-length from the Montreal quartet, and their most impressive release yet. On their latest, Doffing deftly recall some of the finest post-hardcore, indie rock and punk moguls of the past 20-something years. The explosive “F.O.A.M.” breaches with the disruptive intensity of Evasive Backflip’s “WaspspraY” and melodically unfurls like a sinister edition of Archer of Loaf’s “Sick File.” Two tracks later, “Homing” arrives like the long-awaited musical follow up to At the Drive-In’s jittery “Invalid Litter Dept.” The track’s heady and anxious lyrics bring Cap’n Jazz’s shroom-driven tangents to mind, lines filled with adolescent angst following a sad boy writing “his name in the sand, hoping someone might see it/aliens, some known god or maybe the heroes told about in the constellations.”
Part of what makes Tower of Ten Thousand Miles all the more special is the covert idiosyncrasies tucked between its sonic pillars of gothic tribute. They’re concealed and revealed upon each listen, creating a specific depth and atmosphere across the tracklisting. “Motivation” employs a sinewy feedback tone, curiously reminiscent of an 8-bit PSG, which ascends in curious anticipation of the chorus. The repeating, up-stroked plugs of “Shoes” compliments the song’s sustained, off-kilter rhythm, a subconscious melodic addition among the album’s boldest track.
Tower of Ten Thousand Miles is an incredibly satisfying listen. While Doffing’s influences are clear, they manage to craft an intersectional punk triumph, meeting at the crossroads of pop subcultures. It’s like Tim Kinsella booting up Dark Souls 2, Pavement-injected doom metal, or Yoni Wolf of Why? jacking into the Matrix. Doffing’s excellent musical hodgepodge places them in the unique sliver of a multi-circle Venn diagram, allowing Tower of Ten Thousand Miles to simultaneously spark familiarity while transcending its predecessors.