Hand Drawn Dracula
With several similarities between them, Doomsquad has been compared to the psychedelic-pop purveyors group Prince Rama. While both sibling groups have a habit for enhancing their narrative with everyday sounds and using their voices as an added instrument, there’s something subtly despondent brewing beneath the Blumas sisters’ breathy vocals.
Produced by Leon Taheny, whose credits include bands Austra and Dusted, Kalaboogie by Toronto/Montreal group Doomsquad is a difficult album to pin down in any concrete fashion. It’s an evocative, adhesive listen where tracks are assembled to flow seamlessly into one another. It’s a slice of nebulous new wave pulled from each corner of the globe as it explores the spiritual enlightenment of its world influences. Making industrial drones more inviting by draping them with delicate wind chimes, the album is like a score for a distorted mythical fable.
The indistinguishable bellows on “Disremember/Dismemberment” are reminiscent of ‘70s soul queens, but anchored by heavy and impenetrable electronica. Kalaboogie follows a set of influences only to tear them to shreds and fixate on a set of new ones a moment later. On the track “Head Spirit (For our Mechanical Time)”, lyrics are yelped over a darkly tropical baseline. There isn’t a single discernible line fit to sing along with, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t try to. An impressive track that never loses its earworming momentum with an insistent drumbeat give room for lush melodies to disappear, creating space for harsher ones to swirl into the track.
For all its abstract musings and ubiquitous song titles, Kalaboogie is built around its own notion of poptimism. From Trevor Blumas’ James Murphy-esque screeches, to transitions that gently ease the listener in (unlike other similarly branded artists that avoid memorable melodies) Doomsquad have a leg up on their conspirators. They’ve realized that the best way to pull outsiders into the psychosis is to slyly lure them in.
An earlier cover of The Doors’ “Riders on the Storm” indicates that Doomsquad might be more inspired by classic sounds than they care to let on. Maybe an unrecognizable, no wave Rumours cover album is still on the table.
-Melissa Vincent (Twitter @MellVincent)
Album Review: Doomsquad – Kalaboogie