Review Summary: About to burst...
Is there any greater feeling in music than to discover the next great artist? I know you are with me Sputnik. That’s why we labor over list upon list upon thread upon thread desperately trying to unearth them. It is for this reason, and in the spirit of comraderie that I am compelled to share with you my most recent (and most promising) discovery. On paper, Squid is a post-punk band based out of London, England with one ep and a couple singles to their name. Wholly unremarkable. Hollow, minimally descriptive words indicative of something unworthy of more elaborate description. The words are misleading, for they do not occupy the same mind-space as sound. Squid’s lone ep, Town Centre
is a journey, and one that I have eagerly returned to, time and time again, in recent days. So now, in a perplexing attempt to turn you on to an equally perplexing ep, I will employ my best words to convey the emotion and imagery made manifest in my
head-space during this sonic odyssey.
The recording opens with the highly atmospheric Savage
. It’s sly saxophone and kinetic percussion flourishes conjured noir imagery in the mind of this writer. I found myself in an ominous city-scape, moral ambiguity, suspense, and the promise of drama oozing from every grayscale street corner and back alley. You can practically smell the rain-soaked sidewalk. As an introduction to Squid, it’s a tad disorienting. However, in retrospect, it makes perfect sense.
Our opener segues cleanly into Match Bet
, which begins the album proper. A quick, slinky lead guitar brings us to a stilted verse. The tight musicianship and irreverent confidence shown here is reminiscent of Television, or a handful of groups blurring the lines or art rock, new wave, and punk as the 1970s gave way to the 1980s. The song erupts with startling aggression, titillating the listener before settling back into its signature swagger. Boisterous brass soon comes out of nowhere, changing the feel of Match Bet
significantly, leaving the listener to ponder if this Squid isn’t actually more of a hydra before riding the underlying groove out to its logical conclusion.
announces itself with a playfully dissonant guitar lick skirting the edges of a driving, metered drum beat. As those irreverent vocals join the fray it sounds something like Devo covering the B-52s. After successfully exploring this aesthetic for several minutes, the song devolves into an ethereal lament of “so I can’t dance”, these words reverberating palpably through the aether. Instrumentation gradually pierces the void, steadily increasing in intensity until the phrase becomes a confession, and ultimately, a celebration in defiance of such a ridiculous notion. The Cleaner
magically appears in your life kicking off the party like Frosty the fu
cking Snowman. The Cleaner
's departure is only slightly less telegraphed, and profound no matter how fleeting.
To close out the record, Rodeo
returns to a more atmospheric approach. Seemingly without agenda, and certainly without urgency, the listener is treated to alternating lines of spoken verse while a spindly stream of instrumentation meanders its way to mother ocean. “Life’s a rodeo, life’s a rodeo” morphs into a hypnogogic chant equal parts wisened and nightmarish. Unsettled strings claw and burrow just beneath the threshold of awareness for what seems an eternity. At long last, silence washes away the entire surreal experience that is Town Centre
And so, dear reader, I urge to get out there and listen to Squid’s Town Centre
for yourself. The post-everything sensibilities and technical competency on display are incredibly exciting. With a debut lp due in May 2021, Squid are poised to turn the music world on its collective ear mere months from now. Consider this your invitation to get in on the ground floor.