DIANA, the Toronto indie synth-pop trio, have been making waves over the last few years. The band had humble beginnings, starting as a Soundcloud band with some impressive interest in their unique sound. Both Joseph Shabason and Kieran Adam were in other groups previous to this collaboration. They incorporated Carmen Elle and since then the’ve gone on to gain major hype with their debut album Familiar Touch and their second 2016 album Perpetual Surrender only increased interest in this emerging group.
The band is made up of Carmen Elle on vocals, Joseph Shabason on the keyboard and Kieran Adams on the drums. Paul Mathew also makes appearances during live performances.
DIANA’s sound is atmospheric. A vividly lush modern synth and techno-pop sound that has clear 80’s influence. On every track Carmen Elle’s angelic voice lulls you along, while the instrumental acts to heighten that experience at times and at others it’s a force all on its own. Nothing is ever dull, yet each track is soothing; even healing. If you are looking for a sound that you can keep on in the background or fully dive into, check out DIANA.
The success of DIANA’s first album was completely unexpected for the group. Originally planning on just being a recording group, many things changed when the word got out about this album. Not mentioned its 2014 nomination for the Polaris Music Prize. They soon realized they couldn’t keep it in the studio and began touring. This collection is a testing ground for what they could get away with on a full length album and that freedom can be heard in every track. Though they keep it relatively simple, in contrast to their latest release, their passion is palatable. Every song has a unique feeling. From the more modern sounds of Strange Attraction to the classic feel of That Feeling, they manage to keep every track fresh. Be sure to check Pitchfork’s review of the album.
Bigger, better and more focused. Are all ways to describe DIANA’s second release. They dive fully into the 80s synth-pop vibes on this one. The first two tracks Confession and What You Get are heralded as some of their best work. These tracks do not waste any time getting right into the unique sound that fan’s have come to admire from the first album. Only this time there’s an extra layer of thoughtfulness. Although each song is different, thematically they’ve truly unified under a blanket of melancholic jubilance. The trio spent five months in rural Quebec in a small cabin by the Ottawa river to record this album and every time I listen to it I imagine them recoding in that cabin. It only enhance the listen experience. Please check out this album.
It’s always difficult to confirm weather you’ve found a truly unique sound. I have no doubt with DIANA however. Though their influences are clear, their modern interpretation of classic sounds and fearless combination with their own style, produces a sound that you can confidently label ‘different’. I’ve had both these albums on repeat for the last two days and I still find myself discovering news layers to their sound. I think its the thoughtfulness that I appreciate the most. Their attention to detail is outstanding; every little thing is there for a reason and nothing feels out of place.
This group is currently playing shows across the city and if you want to catch them live in action, they are playing next week on February the 17 at the Garrison.
Check out my favourite tracks by one of my favourite groups right now;
Be sure to check in every Friday to discover more new indie artists. And be sure to always stay loud.