Squid – A Debut Album

If you’ve not heard Squid, then prepare yourselves for a full on three-way riot between Sonic Youth, Idles and LCD Soundsystem

Squid are five artists from Brighton who have collectively created a truly astonishing post-punk sound.  If you’ve not heard them, brace yourself.  If you’ve not heard them live, seriously you’ll need a good sleep before and after; their striking live power is insane.  When you realise that the drumming and vocals both come from the same guy, you know that Ollie Judge must sleep very well indeed.  The rest of the band create such a striking sound with:

Anton Pearson (guitar/bass/backing vocals)
Laurie Nankivell (brass/bass/percussion)
Louis Borlase (guitar/bass/backing vocals)
Arthur Leadbetter (keyboards/strings/percussion)

Every riff quirks you out in a ‘whaaaat?!’ kind of way.  You’d think on paper their sound wouldn’t work but yee gods it really does.  There are no standard chord sequences with these people whatsoever.  You’re kept guessing, and you’re always rewarded.

They put out a live-to-vinyl set for Steve Lamacq on BBC 6 Music recently, for the upcoming Record Store Day on 12th June and 17th July.  They went all out enlisting string and horn players, performing new arrangements.

Their previous singles ‘Narrator’ and ‘Paddling’ both sat very comfortably for me on the BBC 6 Music A-list.

Seriously, I feel Squid’s debut album ‘Bright Green Field’ will do well, very well.  The third single ‘Pamphlets’ is out now, and it’s angry, primarily because Ollie hates the plentiful propaganda that we get through our doors, and who can blame him?  The lyrics tell of somebody being taken over by certain political pamphlets as their only source of news.  Terrifying…essentially a true story in many cases.

We’ve heard of studio moments like Black Francis singing mic’d up in a broom cupboard, playing his guitar vertically to trap his vocals away from the drums, or Stephen Morris spraying a can in the vocal booth to create more bite on his snare?  Well, Squid have opted for mics swinging from the ceiling, orbiting amps, effectively creating an audio pendulum painting.  They’ve opted for 30 distorted choir voices, a horn and string ensemble with Emma-Jean Thackray and Lewis Evans from the equally experimental post-rock band ‘Black Country, New Road’.  Squid have gone all out with their passion for creating ‘Bright Green Field’. It’s a debut album definitely worth investing in as a real work of art.

The nearest Squid are getting to Leeds is:

The Adelphi – Hull – Fri 28 May 2021
The Leadmill – Sheffield – Tue 1 Jun 2021
Stoller Hall – Manchester – Thu 3 Jun 2021

They’re teasing around us, but I really do suggest you go see them – they will blast your lockdown cobwebs into oblivion, I promise.

So what do the members of the band have to say about their debut album?

Arthur: “It had to speak for itself as a whole. To do that, we couldn’t include songs of the past. They’ve had their life and we’ve moved on.”

Anton: “We certainly didn’t have a shortage of ideas. If we were including old things we’d be leaving out new things and we always have a preference to go with the urgency of something new.”

Louis: “I think there is a tonal element, and sense of urgency about the album that comes from the time constraints we had when writing that way.” (in a pub in Chippenham)

Arthur: “We were just exploring whatever we found interesting; just constantly trying to challenge ourselves.”

Laurie: “The previous six tracks we’ve released were all, to some extent, dictated by our live show. Performing them live gave ideas of how to tweak them, whereas a few tracks from this album we haven’t played live at all. So that definitely set a different tone.”

Louis: “It’s the most ambitious thing we’ve ever done, but it was also the most fun.”

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