Squid Bright Green Field Warp
“As the sun sets on the Glaxo Kline,” goes the first line of Bright Green Field. “Well it’s the only way that I can tell the time.” Squid’s long-awaited full-length debut is a tense, restless reflection of the anxieties and frustrations of a post-Brexit Britain – the album’s title reading like an ironic joke. With references to “waving at a businessman” on a Ballardian “concrete island”, vocalist Ollie Judge evokes a dystopian imagining of a corporate, grey world; a decaying, polarised land with false narrators, right-wing propaganda and an apathetic attitude towards needless death through televised wars. Sound familiar?
But if that makes it sound like the musical equivalent of an Adam Curtis documentary, weighed down by chin-stroking sincerity, then don’t fret. Bright Green Field tackles these bleak topics with Squid’s signature dry humour. Weird, shapeshifting songs stretch over the six-minute mark, bouncing between art pop, post-punk and a frantic vocal delivery reminiscent of David Byrne, as Judge drolly intones, “Watch your favourite war on TV/ Just before you go to sleep/ And then your favourite sitcom.”
Songs feel perpetually on the brink of collapse as the band lock into Krautrock grooves, only for them to fall apart, leaving Dan Carey’s watertight production to hold it all together. Boy Racer’s ricocheting guitars crash in on themselves, becoming a funereal drone, while Peel St. sounds like a malfunctioning fax machine (in a good way, obviously). Finally, the epic conclusion of Pamphlets builds layer upon layer of fuzzy guitars until it all disintegrates with a cathartic scream. A fitting end to an album that masterfully surveys our country in all its empty glory.