Squid
Bright Green Field


4.5
superb

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
May 8th, 2021 | 421 replies


Release Date: 05/07/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Open wide, we've got everything, everything that you like

Attempting to box Squid into a single genre is a fool's errand. The band has an appetite for pushing the envelope, whether it's tackling post-punk, jazz, electronic/dance music, math rock, or pretty much anything else you could imagine. It's more than just an appetite, actually - they seem hell-bent on taking their music and contorting it into the weirdest and most unexpected shapes. Their debut EP Town Centre hinted at what they could become, and since then they've sprinkled in additional EPs and singles to keep us on the edge of our collective seats. With their downright wild debut Bright Green Field, they have us falling out of our chairs, dancing, flipping tables, and making love. Maybe not in that order, but you get the point.

Bright Green Field is best approached with an open mind, because you sure as hell are not going to get anything conventional here. They make that obvious right off the bat, with the adventurous 'G.S.K.' showcasing Ollie Judge's Idles meets Modest Mouse vocals as he squawks on about praying to the British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline while the sun sets on a mosquito-plagued hillside. The song toes the line between punkish cacophony and funky jazz grooves, with brass flourishes. The stutter-stopping guitars on 'Narrator' give off a mini panic attack vibe until it explodes into a full-blown mental breakdown, featuring Judge and guest vocalist Martha Skye Murphy interlocked in a battle of unsettling screams and sighs - all with swirling, washed out electric guitars gushing from beneath like a treacherous river. This is the sort of thing you can routinely expect from Bright Green Field, a record that thrives on all the different ways it's able to draw listeners out of their comfort zones.

Squid's quest for innovation never slows down. 'Boy Racers' falls off a cliff halfway through, sinking into a sea of shimmering acoustics and eerie robotic voices, distant rumbles, whale-like electronic hums, and dissonant feedback before suddenly turning back on like a machine - the full amperage of Borlase's and Pearson's guitars buzzing like a generator. 'Paddling' kicks off with an almost danceable electronic backbeat before transforming into a full-blown punk rocker. 'Documentary Filmmaker' bustles with noodling jazz horns, while 'Peel St.' sees everything boil over a short couple of tracks later with Squid's most energetic guitar work yet. By the album's curtain-call, Ollie has damn near lost his mind - exploding into his most grating and crazed screams during an extended, epic breakdown.

Bright Green Field truly proves to be an endless series of blind turns: right when you think you know what Squid might be thinking of doing next, they slap you in the face with something invigoratingly fresh. It's as daring a post-punk laced with [insert genre] debut as you'll ever hear, and it feels like the sort of unexpected moment when the grounds of music start to shift. Few artists are capable of molding our ever-rigid genre bounds, but those who accomplish it don't do so by remaining put. Squid proves on their very first try that they have the cajones to make big changes to the way we think about music. It may be early, but get ready to etch their name alongside some of the all-time greats. Bright Green Field is already an album rife with the qualities of a classic.




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user ratings (212)
3.6
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Moderator
May 8th 2021


38102 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

There are even better tracks than the embedded one, but for the life of me I don't know how to change it to the one(s) I'd want to use, ha. This is an amazing debut, everyone should listen to it.

Digging: Bruno Pernadas - Private Reasons

theBoneyKing
May 8th 2021


20562 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Whoa did not expect a Sowing review for this.

zakalwe
May 8th 2021


34167 Comments


He always has to stick his oar in

Corney
May 8th 2021


191 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Really enjoyable album a couple things that kept me from 4'ing this. Some songs tend to peter out and just end when I feel like they need a more proper ending. Also, some of the short songs did nothing for me. There were a lot of long instrumental sections that are thought were good but not good enough to be that long. If there were vocals over these sections I think I wouldn't have minded. Still, really great, highlight songs for me were Narrator, Paddling, (I love the singing part on Documentary Film), Peel St. (Probably my fav song here), Global groove, Pamphlets. Reminded me of a mix of Talking Heads, Black Midi, and Daughters (Manic sounding). I'll probably 4 this eventually because it so damn close anyways.

zakalwe
May 8th 2021


34167 Comments


Yeah Peel St is great.
Narrator starts off superbly but drags on and becomes almost unlistenable when the bird starts squawking.

WatchItExplode
May 8th 2021


8906 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome album that also shows the limitations of their sound. In my opinion, they really need a more traditional second vocalist to inject a little melody when there is an opportunity for it. I love the unhinged Fred Snyder thing he has going on but it can get a bit stale over the course of a full-length album. That is why narrator is more dynamic than the rest of the album and the best song here by a mile.

Digging: Islands - Islomania

DoofDoof
May 8th 2021


9744 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

'Attempting to box Squid into a single genre is a fool's errand.'



Not really, this scene has become its own genre and instantly identifiable imo



Still think the Black Midi debut has a bit more power than either this or the BCNR...but where I dislike BCNR in many ways, this I enjoy a lot so far

Deadwing42
May 8th 2021


243 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I agree pretty strongly with Corney. There's probably about 10-15 minutes of material here, cumulatively, that could be cut out and the album would be the better off as a whole. But there are plenty of moments where everything coheres into total brilliance. "Pamphlets" has the feel of an instant classic to me. They absolutely have the potential to make an album that has that same status, but to me, this falls just a bit short. I still expect it to round out many year-end lists. The top spot will be for black midi.

NonApplicable
May 8th 2021


2871 Comments


On my first impression, I agree with WatchItExplode. I remember hearing the first track and loving the instrumentation and vocalist's manic energy. I was hoping that the vocals would show a little more versatility on the next track however. I found myself disappointed that he carried out the same delivery for the entirety of the record. I'm going to stick with this album in hopes it doesn't bother on repeat listens.

DocSportello
May 8th 2021


1966 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Documentary Filmmaker isn’t my favorite, but it’s one I always look forward to. Like a glorious synthesis of Sufjan’s Vesuvius and Beirut gone ambient or something like that

normaloctagon
May 8th 2021


5891 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

came here to say pretty much what Corney said so instead i’ll just go with the tried and true:



[2]

Digging: MF DOOM - Special Herbs 7,8

DDDeftoneDDD
May 8th 2021


17391 Comments


Idk why but kinda want to check this cause I miss slugdge.

Digging: Seputus - Phantom Indigo

Minushuman24
May 8th 2021


4763 Comments


This albums rules unbelievably hard

Gyromania
May 8th 2021


32468 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is good but honestly I'm more excited for new black midi. Some songs here rly fizzle out in their latter half

Ebola
May 8th 2021


3989 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

wow I love this

WatchItExplode
May 8th 2021


8906 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ngl, lil bit disappointed with this. Thought it was going to be a real brain melter.

porcupinetheater
Contributing Reviewer
May 8th 2021


7930 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Remarkable how much better Schlagenheim is than any of these other attention deficit teennoise albums

Calc
May 8th 2021


16724 Comments


^^^



SowingSeason
Moderator
May 8th 2021


38102 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Boy Racers is incredible and probably my favorite

Either that or Pamphlets

parksungjoon
May 8th 2021


32249 Comments


3.95 from 2,632 ratings
Genres
Art Punk, Post-Punk, Experimental Rock
Dance-Punk, Krautrock, Post-Rock



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