Nothing short of immaculate
Charlie Brock
09:00 3rd May 2021

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Squid are on seriously good form right now. Their debut LP, Bright Green Field, comes off the back of some staggeringly good singles and an EP.

With their teeth cut at the infamous Windmill in Brixton, Squid, along with Black Midi and Black Country, New Road, have carved out a niche for themselves in the currently exploding post-punk-revival scene. The illustrious mastermind behind the whole thing - Speedy Wunderground’s very own mad scientist Dan Carey - is in the Producer’s seat for Bright Green Field and his fingerprints are all over the debut. 

The record kicks off as you’d expect, a short instrumental is followed by 'G.S.K', an upbeat and surprisingly funky musing on pharmaceutical giants, GlaxoSmithKline. The track heaves and jerks with it’s post-rock might: Squid set the tone early, they’re an ultra-talented group of musicians and they’re here to showcase their skills. 'G.S.K' flows into lead single 'Narrator', a superbly tumultuous, nine-minute epic with wailing, siren-style vocals from Martha Skye-Murphy (who you may remember lending her voice to Nick Cave’s ‘Push The Sky Away’). The track flows from crescendos to measured breakdowns: its both ends of Squid’s repertoire in excellent style.

From here, ‘Boy Racers’ takes aim at the sort of dickheads that drive their Citroen Saxos up and down your road at 2am, over a fairly conventional, archetypal ‘Squid groove’. About four minutes into this cut, Bright Green Field goes off the rails fantastically; huge, droning synths, distorted to fuck, wailing up and down with echoey noises that flash past your ears before you can quite work out what they are. It's totally bizarre but we absolutely love it. We then go into single number two, ‘Paddling’ which sounds like a Microtonal Banana King Gizz number with a spoken word interlude.

‘Documentary Filmmaker’ follows, a synthy brass and plucked guitar intro builds and builds and builds into a classically Squid, chaotic crescendo, before tailng out again. ‘2010’ has a much more laid back, lounge-lizard vibe to it, until it suddenly doesn’t: gargantuan, industrial, Black Midi style math rock breaks out, but it’s gone before you have time to adjust and the band play out the rest of the track as if nothing happened. 

‘The Flyover’ is an enjoyably pleasant brass interlude and ‘Peel Street’ is a suitably angular, wonky cut with shades of Windmill contemporaries BC,NR and Black Midi. Squid have really taken the Windmill template that these bands have written and smashed it into pieces; they do everything that their Brit Schooled peers do, without the awkwardness of Black Country or the sometimes impenetrable nature of Black Midi. It’s a daring and avant garde record but Squid pull it off in supreme style. 

Penultimate track, ‘Global Groove’ is a sludgy, stomp of a tune with cutting lyrics about modern life, globalisation and a generally moody aura. Third and final single ‘Pamphlets’ closes out the album, with Squid quick to change the tempo to upbeat, danceable, punchy drums and lung-busting howls from singing drummer Ollie Judge. Judge continues to muse and rage about the way brands bombard us with adverts, Judge’s vocals mirror the frenzied instrumentation on this track as they do so often throughout this album. 

As a debut, then, Bright Green Field is nothing short of immaculate. On the surface it seems like organised chaos, but as you listen it reveals itself to be so much more: it’s precisely engineered chaos, with every note, drum fill, wobbly synth or guitar part exactly where it should be. 

Bright Green Field arrives 7 May via Warp Records.

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Photo: Press