Envision the Great Plains, a vast open space with only one color to be found, green. An empty open space, leaving room for thoughts to prevail. A sight seen by many in just their own backyard, a field of grass. It may seem mundane, but in these plains, there’s nowhere else to go but these fields. This provides a beautiful golden frame for the painting of Squid’s debut project “Bright Green Field”. The framework leaves a lot to interpret, and the painting gives us the art to interpret. As a field has depth, so does the album, truly a gift to unravel. I click play on the album, excitement fills my face, and I’m ready to go down this journey, and to see where I end up.
Squid is a British post-punk band from Brighton, England, originating years ago, however only releasing their debut project this year. For the last year, Squid has been dropping singles semi-regularly, building hype for “Bright Green Field”, which to say the least, have all been phenomenal. My hopes were out of this world for this album, there was absolutely no way that this album could be bad (This sentence isn’t even for foreshadowing of the contrary, it just is a great album). Months and months of waiting, all leading up to May 6th. The hype was insurmountable. Being in this environment where every single person in the community is all looking forward to one thing, is just an amazing feeling. All of us came together to listen to this great record. And well, it came out. So what do I think?
“Bright Green Field” did not only live up to all of the uproar around it, but it blew my original expectations out of the water, knocked it out the park, or across an infinite field. The album I once thought this was going to be, wasn’t the album I heard today, and that’s a good thing. Going out of left field and bringing something even better than expected. The wait was worth it, and it’s now time to unravel the gift we’ve received.
We’re now walking down the vast plains, headphones on our ear, hitting play on the album. This album does not waste your time, and it kicks things off heavy with the opener ‘Resolution Square’. As in heavy, I mean ominous. Mysterious, not knowing the clear direction it’s about to take form in. Voices are heard, but are too incoherent to really understand what’s going on. Unfamiliar sounds are played, what are we listening to? Cuts to silence and the sound of drums blare, entering you into the track ‘G.S.K.’. Although shorter than a conventional Squid track, it leaves enough mark on the record to be mainstay. I feel this is the real opener, and it’s overall ambitious, chanty nature, it really lets you know they are opening an album. The amount of excitement that ran through me I can’t put into words, it really set the tone for everything to come. The track that follows is the lead single for the album, “Narrator”, arguably one of the best singles of the year. A confusing, “life-threatening”, ominous adventure. Upon first listen, it sounds terrifying, but listening over and over again, it becomes more of a wild ride. This is the perfect single for the album as that is what the album is. A wild ride.
The first 3 track run has closed, it’s now dark, and where we are is something we don’t know anymore. “Boy Racers” starts off as a optimistic summery song, ending up deceiving in the long run. It transitions into its midsection, sounding almost angelic, but becomes this dark void noise for the last few minutes of the track. One of the more confusing cuts off of the album, as I don’t know what it’s subject-matter is trying to say. In the depths of insanity we’re in, what can we perceive? What are we doing? Why are we here? Questions enter our mind as we listen to flat noise for minutes on end. As it comes to a close, we enter a familiar track, a single, “Paddling”. As for all of the singles for this album, it is one of the stronger songs off the album. A beat thumping, hard hitting, fast-paced song. This song, at least in it’s delivery, gives off a lot of nostalgia for me. In this point in the story, this serves as a flashback, when we weren’t in the field, in a community different to the loneliness in our thoughts right now. Extending off the nostalgic factor, 'Documentary Filmmaker’ begins with a nostalgic-esque introduction, but slowly goes into an eccentric performance by the lead vocalist. Going into the calming yet overpowering “2010”, which has it’s insanic moments, it's hard to interpret its meaning of being “upside down”. This song in particular was one of the harder ones to read, but it can go both ways, negative or positive.
We’ve fallen asleep in the grass, we wake up to the sun blinding our eyes, directly above us. ‘The Flyover’, a 1 minute interlude of various instruments playing, which reminded me of the tuning of an inexperienced orchestra. With incoherent vocal lines in the background, this track is mysterious in it’s tone and story-telling. What just happened? Did anything really happen? Because we re-enter the same o’le state we were in before with ‘Peel St.’ “I’m falling out, I’m falling in”, we’re truly stuck here. As much as we run across these fields, we can’t seem to free ourselves from this burden, delving into insanity. This track encapsulates the chaotic nature much better than any other track on the album thus far, which is perfect due to it being placed towards the end of the project.
We have to get out of here, we can’t withstand this anymore. The title for the next track describes itself perfectly, ‘Global Groove’ as it’s just a groovy, jazzy-esque song with the twist of rock and Squid’s magical touch. Calming mostly, undertones of chaos shining through, but mostly being well-reserved. We’re running through the grass, getting cut by thorns, nose running from the pollen, barely on our feet slipping through the puddles. We don’t know where we're going but just anything but this. It’s not the fact that we’re in a field, it’s the fact we’re alone, feeling dead as if we were a skeleton. We enter the final track, the closer to this adventurous enduring experience, ‘Pamphlets’. The sun is rising, the optimistic sounds of guitars play. We’re running, we’re seeing something over the horizon. ‘Pamphlets’ is an example of a happy ending to a painful story. One of the more light-hearted songs. We’re going to make it out. We made it out.
“Bright Green Field” is a special album, much akin to earlier this year’s “For the first time” by Black Country, New Road, this is an instant love at first sight situation for me. It’s illustrious story-telling ability, chaotic instrumentals, and passionate vocal performances, it’s the perfect album to encapsulate the pain of being alone. Even if that isn’t what the album is about, it hands you a white canvas on a gold platter, letting you paint your own story, interpret it in the way YOU want. And that’s the beauty of it.
Favorite Tracks: G.S.K., Narrator, Paddling, Documentary Filmmaker, Peel St. Global Groove, Pamphlets
Least Favorite Track: Resolution Square (if that even counts)