SQUID – ” The Cleaner “

Posted: July 21, 2019 in MUSIC
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One of the weird and/or fun aspects about new bands (loosely) playing into some kind of post-punk lineage is trying to locate all the through lines, piecing together the DNA that gave them their individual sound. Recently, one buzzy London-based band called Black Midi perhaps provided the greatest Rorschach test in this vein, some people hearing Talking Heads and some people hearing something as far removed as King Crimson. But another buzzy London (by way of Brighton) guitar band called Squid.

The intro rhythm — you’ve heard that before. It’s pretty similar to the tightened groove that opens LCD Soundsystem’s “Us V Them,” a callback to another band deeply indebted to late ’70s and early ’80s music and deeply committed to playing fast and loose with those influences. Ollie Judge’s squawking vocals recall early Liars. But it isn’t all filtered through a previous generation’s interpretation of bygone glory days — the synths in the beginning sound like early ’80s Prince, the melodic parts kinda like Wire, and the droning strings of the outro like Nick Cave.

None of this is meant to reduce “The Cleaner” to its touchstones. In quoting all those older artists, the young band came out with a shape-shifting epic, frenzied and twitchy at first then at times genuinely pretty or trippy. And all along the way, it gets right in your bloodstream. “So I can’t dance,” Judge yelps. But it’ll make you want to.

Sure, there’s plenty of great post-punk knocking about on the shores of the old Blighty, but Squid separate themselves with multiple lead vocalists and additional instrumentation—horns, synths, cowbell, triangle, a guiro and god knows what else. They only have a few singles to their name, but tracks like “The Dial” and “Houseplants” are the kind of nervy, spunky art punk tunes that are supremely enjoyable and memorable in both their studio and live forms. Plus, everyone loves a good singing drummer and the London via Brighton five-piece have a great one at that.

Band Members
Louis, Ollie, Anton, Arthur, Laurie,

From the forthcoming ‘Town Centre’ EP – out on Speedy Wunderground digitally on 6th September,

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