Though Doomsquad has certainly made a few strides since 2014’s Kalaboogie, their latest release Pageantry Suite is not a complete departure from the funky, drone-y style they have carefully cultivated. One would think that because the band (Trevor, Jaclyn and Allie Blumas, a trio of siblings) describes itself as an art project, they would take more risks with their work. On the contrary, Pageantry Suite, an EP that consists of three original tracks and instrumental versions of the first two songs, falls flat.
“Two-Way Mirror,” the first song off the EP, begins with a drone, slowly but steadily picking up momentum until we are riding waves of beats that seem to come from, well, everywhere. It has a bit of a world-beat vibe to it, and features synth sounds reminiscent of a setting on most beginner-pianist’s electronic keyboards. The vocals in this track are shouty, confusing and are certainly at odds with the instrumentals.
“Apocolypso” begins with a heavy beat and a backdrop that consists of flowing synth and glitching white noise. It is actually danceable and because it starts at such a high energy level, it really plunges the listener into its beat and eventual indie-band type vocals; envision an underwater Vampire Weekend. Instead of ending the way it begun, the song comes to a graceful halt with some interesting synth.
The true closer of the EP is “Ice Storm,” and it is probably the most interesting track on the record. Beginning with another strange beat, which seems to incorporate a rainstick and deep bongos (or a marching band drum), it quickly evolves into a complex tapestry of bass, guitar and droning female vocals. It gives the listener a feeling akin to being at a rave, but a rave featuring a drum circle. It is definitely worth a listen, if only for the experience. The song, like the one preceding it, can immerse you in sound. However, at a whopping 7:42, its length makes it a marathon.
After “Ice Storm,” the first two tracks “Two-Way Mirror” and “Apocalypso” are repeated as instrumental tracks, something that will surely be appreciated, given the beauty of the latter. Their inclusion does seem to be a bit of a cop-out, especially on an EP as short as this one.
Overall, Pageantry Suite is an interesting, complex work of art and it is a joy to listen to. Doomsday has one again done a wonderful job, but with this release we don’t see much maturity from the group. It is a step – but not a leap – in a more interesting direction.