Squid: Bright Green Field review – exhilarating punk-funk-krautrock debut

(Warp Records)
Boldly flaunting their influences, the Brighton five-piece hurtle along with huge shifts in style and pace

The multifarious music of Brighton five-piece Squid strives hard to escape definition, their tentacles tangled in krautrock, post-rock, math rock, re-revived post-punk and full-on sax-vamping jazz. Their debut album, produced by Dan Carey, has a lot going on: the influence of Douglas Coupland, field recordings of bells and bees, oblique lyrical reflections on everything from big pharma to Easter eggs. Paddling is typical, a nervy gallop from low-key motorik through spidery goth guitars to a ghostly spoken breakdown, opening at last into an exhilarating punk-funk-kraut expanse.

Though nothing here is truly experimental or innovative – it’s more the kind of music that gets labelled as such because of the influences it shows – Bright Green Field has a hurtling energy, each song shifting restlessly, repeatedly in style and pace. It’s a shame, then, that the vocals of drummer and lyricist Ollie Judge so often pull it back to earth; his detuned, declamatory yelp, part David Byrne, part Mark E Smith, is straight off the post-punk shelf. When he adopts a more restrained style on the Radiohead-esque 2010, or a full-on grunge scream on the menacing, juddering stomp of Peel St, the music is more free to run clear of the past.

Listen to Paddling by Squid


Emily Mackay

The GuardianTramp

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