Close this search box.

Lights Out: Sort of Damocles Returns To The Darkness on Flameout

Vancouver artist Chris van der Laan teams up with Calgary's Squints Palledorous to conclude a haunting trilogy just in time for spooky season.

by Sierra Riley

Autumn is a feast for the senses; squelching pumpkin guts, sweet Halloween candy, and bonfire smoke are characteristic to an October well done. No spooky season, however, is complete without a dread-inducing playlist. 

A tip for horror enthusiasts: consider adding Flameout to your autumnal album rotation. A collaboration between Vancouver alt-pop act Sort of Damocles (yes, that’s a mythological pun) and Calgary-based Squints Palledorous (yes, that’s a reference to The Sandlot), Flameout is the haunting conclusion to the trilogy that began with Throw Your Candle Out the Window and Try to Find Your Candle Again.

The 14-track album compiles new music and “some stuff recorded a long time ago” by Chris van der Laan, featuring the ethereal vocals of Joyelle Komierowski. Flameout‘s retro, lo-fi synths wouldn’t be out of place on an 80s horror soundtrack and tinny piano melodies seem exorcized from a haunted house. Aptly, the album art gives off heavy Exorcist (1973) vibes.

Sort of Damocles and Squints Palledorous follow through on the sense of humour promised by their respective stage names. For example, track 11 is titled “12.” Tags on the album’s Bandcamp page include “sorrow,” “suffering,” and “weed” (perhaps this is utilitarian SEO stuff, but it gave me a laugh regardless). The also album doesn’t take itself too seriously, despite its honest, devastating, and definitively un-campy lyrics.

Incantations carry the listener through grief like a graveyard. “Everything is just as it should be, without you here with me,” Komierowski whisper-sings in “Super Speclatron MISB.” Is Komierowski indeed missing the 80s-era action figure referenced in the title, or is it just another niche joke targeted at nostalgic listeners? That’s just part of the mystery and comedy of Flameout. The hazy production and earnest songwriting render the album a mainstay to be played and replayed both before and beyond October 31. 

Order it on vinyl from Boat Dreams From The Hill while it’s still in (extremely limited) stock, or stream it on Bandcamp now. You can also watch their self-directed video for “New Camping Master” from the forthcoming album Beauty Goods below

Boat Dreams From The Hill, 2023