In 2021, UK’s Squid made a pretty big bang with their otherworldly debut, Bright Green Field. It’s off-kilter charm and psychotically cool delivery garnered highly acclaim, taking the best of the region’s recent post-punk resurgence and threading it into a winding, progressive tapestry of morphing shapes and modulated sound.
It’s a record we still throw on when we can’t think of exactly what we want, because it’s got so much to offer – and now, we’ve got even more. And it’s even better.
Our first taste of Squid’s new album, O Monolith, was a sweet and salty one -“Swing (In a Dream)” picks up where the group’s previous record left off, but with an unexpected emotional counterweight to it, making for a single as strong as just about anything on their debut.
Not that they’re not having any fun anymore, mind you – check out the trippy video below.
Drummer/singer Ollie Judge’s frenzied, wistful vocals continue to twist and contort with maniacal prowess, but the interplay between them and drums feels a lot more calculated this time, and we mean that in a good way. Squid’s not necessarily reigning themselves in so much as focusing on the best of their eccentricities, and it really shines through on songs like “The Blades.”
Also, speaking of shining through, the fabulous sounding mix comes courtesy of John McEntire of Tortoise fame. McEntire’s ear for delicate tones in multiple dynamics really shows up here, and it adds a sense of cohesion to O Monolith that glues both the parts and the songs together. It starts to make sense when you hear that much of the majority was tested live – on Bright Green Field, the stranger, more ambient passages really threw some people off with beds of sound were even longer or more attention grabbing than the composition attached to it. Here, a definite sense of growth (though we hate to say it like that) keeps this moments a little neater, and the record greatly benefits from this, even if ends up with a shorter run time.
It might not quite be a monolith, but it is a structural masterclass, and we’ll be learning from it all summer.
We’re just thankful that Squid is still as squirmy, squishy, and unwieldy as ever. In the end, the record’s grounded, slightly more realistic approach is fully vindicated, as it’s resulted not only the band’s best record yet, but one of the most engaging moments of 2023 as well. Get your Squid goods at Warped Records over here, and buy us a coffee over here – black like ink… you know, like… squid ink. Ugh. Anyway, we’ve got another couple things to push out before we take a very brief restructuring hiatus! We’re prepping for a new feature or two around the site, and we wanna make sure we get it right. More on this soon – for now, enjoy the weekend!