Ah the circus. The frequent realm of a child’s revelry or a child’s nightmare. No matter how you look at it, there’s always been an air of the sinister attached to the big top and its residents. Showmen even capitalise on it, turning their carnivals into horror shows, making the sanguine pantomime of the unconscious a living, breathing reality. It then begs the question: How have so few married the theatrics of the circus with the wealth of music the world has to offer? Beats me, but in the reaches of Toronto’s music underworld, lies a project that not only showcases a performance spectacle, but drags it into a watery grave to electro-industrial, sewn together with as many electronic-tainted genres as tentacles can ensnare. Once referred to by founder James Zirco Fisher as the electro-industrial glow circus, the ideals of Squid Lid created a playful submersion into an ocean of light displays and marine life mutations, sinking deeper and deeper into darkness with every evolution. Third album Tackle Box from May of this year, is the most accomplished genus so far, adding female vocals into the mix where previously unease and uncertainty dominated the instrumental albums before it. The switch feels more natural as the project gains ground in underground circles, and production values clamber higher with it. Every song of Squid Lid has always had its own identity, so it’s always difficult to get a full complete picture of the vast array of sounds that this outfit is capable of creating. Shark Club, from Tackle Box has been honed for dancefloors, percussion and bass exploding with every beat, designed with a tribe in mind and synths twisting and warping into snarling beasts, or into haunting stabs, hovering above the party below. For someone who has followed this group for a few years, the escalation of detail and devotion to realising this new album is jaw-dropping. Squid Lid are truly a cult sensation, an experience that has to be seen to be believed, contained within such a diverse, delectable, darker side of electronic music, that musicians and artists alike have no hope of replicating.
Tackle Box, and its older counterparts 2009’s Steam Powered Submarine and 2012’s Crypto Zoo are all available from Squid Lid’s Bandcamp page, all from a very respectable price.