Release Date: Apr 29, 2016
Record label: Bella Union
Genre(s): New Age, Pop/Rock
On their second full-length, Total Time, genre-hopping Toronto trio Doomsquad have solidified their brand of shamanic, psychedelic dance-pop. The group still deals in sprawling, expansive dance rhythms, but there's more of a pop focus here, and not quite as much hair-raising distortion as some of their previous work. Siblings Trevor, Jaclyn, and Allie Blumas trade off ethereal, sometimes goth-influenced vocals, and the music often includes percolating synthesizers, layered guitars, and polyrhythmic dance beats.
Canadian sibling trio Doomsquad neither deliver doom metal nor gloomy hardcore techno, as one might perhaps expect. Instead, they offer up a cut and shut of rock and electronica, which has found a possibly surprising home on indie institution Bella Union. The trio and their host of collaborators profess to have stirred in many influences, but it’s surprisingly hard to pick them out among the sometimes quite staid results.
Doomsquad started out as a dark satire of Christian family folk bands, but you don't get much sense of ironic detachment on their sophomore album. The Toronto trio's idiosyncratic blend of psychedelic rock, techno, industrial, New Age and cosmic folk has solidified into a sound that's unmistakably their own, and that doesn't depend on the theatricality of their live show to work. The core group of siblings Trevor, Jaclyn and Allie Blumas set off to New Mexico to lay down bedtracks for the album, and much of Total Time feels like it could be the soundtrack to a mystical psychedelic ceremony in the desert.
Teleporting from the Ontario forest to the New Mexico desert, and swapping their debut album Kalaboogie’s cavernous reverb for up-close and physical bass thump, Total Time is the next stage of Doomsquad’s evolution from accidental folk experiment to technicolor dance utopianists. Sibling dynamics are common in bands, but Doomsquad do the brother and sister (and occasional brother-and-sister) acts one better by being a family trio. The Toronto-based Allie, Jaclyn, and Trevor Blumas were steeped in arts education since their elementary school days, and began to play together in 2010 after living apart in different cities across Canada.