Squid, the Brighton-formed quintet now based in South London, has firmly established itself as a standout presence in the vibrant British punk scene. With their latest album, O Monolith, they deliver a captivating and boundary-pushing musical experience. Combining elements of experimental rock with post-punk sensibilities, Squid’s music defies expectations and embraces the unconventional.
O Monolith is the band’s second album, following the release of their punk-infused debut, Bright Green Field. What sets this album apart is the innovative creative process that shaped its unique sound. Squid embarked on the Fieldwork Tour, venturing into the remote corners of the British countryside to perform for unsuspecting audiences. It was during these intimate live shows that up to 80% of the album’s content was born through spontaneous improvisation.
The creative journey continued in Bristol, where the compositions crystallized, and ultimately led Squid to Peter Gabriel’s Real World studios in Wiltshire. Teaming up with genre specialist Dan Carey, known for his work with Toy, Fontaines D.C, Geese, and Warmdusher, the band crafted a dynamic and turbulent rock experience. O Monolith refuses to be confined to a single genre, constantly shifting and evolving throughout its runtime.
The album showcases Squid’s willingness to experiment and embrace unpredictability. From the hauntingly atmospheric “Devil’s Den” to the fragmented intensity of “The Blades” and the weightless allure of “Siphon Song,” every track challenges traditional song structures. The vocals range from choral harmonies to robotic delivery, adding an additional layer of intrigue to the sonic landscape. Squid masterfully combines post-punk basslines, hypnotic synth loops, and purring brass to create an intricate and emotionally charged album.
What sets Squid apart in the British punk scene is their commitment to collective musical expression. Their reputation as a captivating live act is well-deserved, with Ollie Judge, Louis Borlase, Arthur Leadbetter, Laurie Nakivell, and Anton Pearson pouring their hearts into their performances. During the Fieldworks Tour, the band experimented with unfinished songs, using the audience’s reactions as a guide. These experiences informed the subsequent studio sessions in Bristol and at Real World studios.
Squid - Swing (In a Dream) (Official Video)Squid
O Monolith’s compact 41-minute runtime initially feels dense and enigmatic, but it gradually unveils its secrets with each listen. Squid’s music explores the nuances of experimental rock, balancing cacophonous edges with melodic finesse. The album eschews conventional riffs and punk screams, opting instead for a more stubborn and captivating sonic journey. With their mysterious and sybilline lyrics, Squid invites listeners to embark on an audacious sonic adventure. O Monolith is an album that defies categorization, deserving recognition as a testament to the band’s musical courage and innovation. Squid’s artistic vision and unyielding approach make this album a compelling addition to the contemporary punk landscape, an absolute Qobuzissime!