DOOMSQUAD – ‘Let Yourself Be Seen’ review

Score

They prefer the fringes to fitting in and – with flute solos this banging up their sleeves, who wouldn’t want to join the Toronto group's revolution?

A sibling trio hailing from Toronto, Canada, DOOMSQUAD approached their third record with the goal, they say, of bringing “music back to the body”. Accordingly there’s a hypnotic, drawn-out quality to ‘Let Yourself Be Seen’, which recalls the structures of house and disco, and a snappy percussive undercurrent drives the album from start to finish. Songs blur softly into each other by way of instrumental interludes; ‘Spandrel’ and ‘Spandrel II’ take their name from the decorative top corners of ornate stone arches, and are similarly crammed with sonic details. As a whole, ‘Let Yourself Be Seen’  flows more like a meandering DJ set. DOOMSQUAD’s goal here is countering fraught political times by reconnecting with the body spiritually, through the utopia of the dancefloor, movement and music.

Such leanings can often verge into unbearably earnest yoga-mom territory, but DOOMSQUAD harness a contrasting humour that punctuates their chakra-quivering bodily grooves. Trevor Blumas possesses a booming, New Romantic vocal – like Ultravox in melodrama mode, or The Human League’s Philip Oakey at full pelt – and lyrically, the group summon droll turns of phrase that tap astutely into the uncertain age we live in.

So many tensions today revolve around a constant need to be ‘seen’ – “If an avocado brunch doesn’t appear on Instagram, did it really happen?” should really be a new tree-in-forest idiom – and it’s something that gets examined continually here. On ‘Aimless’, they discussaddress the desire “to give off the proper impression” and on ‘General Hum’ disaster after disaster flashes up on 24/7 news channels in a numb onslaught. “The radio talks about another bombing in London, I try to emphasise, but it’s just another story,” states Trevor Blumas.  “Is there a place for spirit anymore?”

That said, the record ends on a hopeful note. “Fit in, or fuck off” they rage, reading an angrily scrawled sign on ‘Weather Pattern’. Finally, they ask “What are you afraid of?” Crafting strange, unwieldy electronic music with a dancefloor of outsiders in mind, in DOOMSQUAD’s mind it’s better to fuck off to the fringes than fit in. And with flute solos this banging up their sleeves, who wouldn’t want to join them?

Details

Release date: May 10
Release label: Bella Union