The Vulcan Dub Squad

The Vulcan Dub Squad: The Return

The Vulcan Dub Squad are, and have always been, a non-identity: they have preferably stayed in the middle. I remember seeing them for the first time; they sported zip-up trainers, dress pants and face masks to conceal their identities, choosing to not put a face to a name. They found it wasn't necessary to be considered iconic or known for image. Now leading into their 6th release entitled 'The New Designers', The Vulcan Dub Squad ("The Vulcans") have removed their masks and are trying something new...on stage.

The band has been out of sight for the last while. Now after just over two years, the band is back with new members, one old member gone, and an image. However, the message still remains the same. 'The New Designers' is the latest release by the Brampton (Toronto)-quintet. It details many different nationalistic topics such as the monarchy's presence in Canada, the demise of the Avro Arrow, a clear hatred for former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, and more. The album's artwork and songs are primarily set around Expo 67 and the new-age living facility, Habitat 67. This being the 40th anniversary of the Expo, there has been little to no celebration or recognition of the event. With Expo 67 having served as the band's new source of inspiration, The Vulcan's took it upon themselves to describe how they felt about the situation.

'The New Designers' begins with an ambient intro with emotion entailed. Leading towards the album's most interesting and well-played track, 'Victoria' definitely captures the attention of the listener and encourages a further trek into the album. Lead singer Ranbir Gundu's high-pitch vocals are a constant of splendid sounds. The next track immediately shifts gears from soft and endearing to angry and fist-shaking. 'Die Dief Die' vents about former Prime Minister's cancellation of the Avro Arrow program - 'nuff said. As the record continues on, there are changes of flow, temperament and direction. One track will have the shoegaze sound of mid-to-late 90's Toronto-rock bands, another track will have the old Vulcan Dub Squad speed/punk rock punch. Although 'Die Dief Die' does this well, it seems to be the only track where I prefer the heavy half. The shoegaze/indie sounds are generally nice and are suitable for a fair listen. There's even an instrumental track which features Toronto local favourite Keith Hamilton on the musical saw.

Although the record sounds good, I would like to see how it works on a live performance scale.

To catch The Vulcan Dub Squad in action, the band will be celebrating the release of their CD this Thursday, August 9th at The Drake Underground. Joining them will be local electronic heroes' Woodhands, friends and indie-poppers' Five Blank Pages and Grassy Knoll & The Magic Bullit. All of this for the low, low cost of $7.

To recap:

Who: The Vulcan Dub Squad / Woodhands / Five Blank Pages / Grassy Knoll & The Magic Bullit
When: Thursday, August 9th @ 9pm
Where: The Drake Underground (1150 Queen St. West)
How Much: $7

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