Three young bands have emerged from the Windmill in Brixton to send a message about the future of experimental rock/post-punk. black midi and Black Country, New Road have both amazed me with their debut albums "Schlagenheim" and "For the first time". Their brilliance, nuance, complexity and overall infectiousness led me to give them both "mastapeece" tags upon release! Now it's time for Squid to shine through with their breakthrough LP and... goddammit this scene never fails to impress me!
In contrast to the aforementioned former Speedy Wunderground signees, who go for a similarly Slint-inspired canvas, Squid's sound is groovier and more vibrant. Even Ollie Judge's vocals bridge the gap between the eccentricities of Greep's accent and Wood's poetic anxiousness. The more I talk about Squid's peers the more I get tired of it, so I'll just leave it there and say that they're still a fantastic and fresh-sounding group in their own right, regardless of comparison.
Maybe the one minor criticism I have with "Bright Green Field" is that the two interludes don't really do a whole lot for the record, but they're still solid nonetheless and the rest of the tracklist never misses a beat! "G.S.K." opens up the album with a dance-punk number full of infectious grooves, jazzy horn embellishments and metaphorical lyrics. There's also "Narrator" and the closing track "Pamphlets", two 8-minute post-punk opuses that are so masterful in their creation that I can't decide which one I love more! The former track brought me into this band after catching wind of the hype behind it while the latter track confirmed my hype for this record. The instrumentation is phenomenal, Ollie's vocal performances are freakish, the lyrics are super sticky and the atmosphere on both of these tracks border between fun and anxiety-inducing! The former track features Martha Skye Murphy, whose performance gets wilder and wilder as the track reaches its explosive, Swans-esque crescendo. "Pamphlets" takes these ideas and transforms them into something more technical and poetic. All of the paranoia surrounding our lead singer/drummer explode into tortured screams as the instrumentation gets more intense!
There are a handful of tracks that are simultaneously catchy and complex, like "Paddling", "Peel St." and the tracks I mentioned in the last paragraph. The more experimental cuts are excellent as well! "Boy Racers" starts off Squidy enough for the first half before evaporating into a spacey, thick drone passage that made me feel like I was ascending to more terrifying plane of existence that I never thought I would visit, but here I am. Meanwhile, "Peel St." and "2010" are both noisy-as-fuck anxiety attacks, with the latter especially giving me goosebumps throughout the track!
I just can't sing enough praises for "Bright Green Field", but I can't really explain enough at the moment as this is a pretty dense album to unpack just from these first few listens. For now, it's an astounding, smartly-written, diverse, infectious and exquisitely-performed addition to the ever evolving scene that I’m coining the "Windmill Cinematic Universe" that's taking experimental rock by storm! With black midi's sophomore record arriving in a few weeks, my love and anticipation for all three of these bands to continue making fantastic material doesn't seem to be fading anytime soon!
Fav Tracks: Pamphlets, Narrator, Boy Racers, 2010, Peel St., Paddling, G.S.K., Global Groove
Least Fav Track: Resolution Square