Arguably the best of 2021’s cavalcade of Brit art-punk releases, Brighton-based five-piece Squid made some serious waves with debut album Bright Green Field. A record as impressively technical – with jagged guitar lines, juttering time signatures, and a frequent abandonment of conventional song structure – as it was stuffed to the gills with accessible hooks, Squid even managed to break through my cynicism around the so-called “Windmill Scene” with an album that became one of my most-played that year. Well, they’re getting ready to do so again, this week announcing their sophomore album, O Monolith out 9th June, and sharing its opener, “Swing (In a Dream).”
Anybody who’s been to a Squid show since the release of Field, particularly the seated socially-distanced shows from mid-2021, will likely recognise “Swing” as it’s been a fixture on their setlists. In an accompanying press release, singer/drummer Ollie Judge reveals that most of Monolith was born from those live shows. “Without that tour, we wouldn’t have any of these tracks. People were so looking forward to seeing live music again that we thought we could just play anything, even if it was unfinished. In some form or another we played about 80% of O Monolith, mostly without lyrics.” Recorded at Peter Gabriel’s Real World studios in Wiltshire, the album re-teams them with Dan Carey on production, and Martha Skye Murphy from Field single “Narrator.”
As for “Swing,” it’s a claustrophobic churn of a song, spinning in an off-kilter time signature around an initial synth line which builds and builds into a screeching climax of crunchy guitars and booming drums. Just like with the highlights from their debut, it may not seem like an immediate barnstormer, but that chorus and looping riff will very quickly consume your brain. Judge says the track was “inspired by a dream I had about a painting called The Swing by Jean-Honoré Fragonard. In my dream I was in the painting but it was flooded and everything was floating away.”
In addition to the album announcement, there are a whole host of headline live dates to go along with the festival slots over the Summer. The band hit the road in October, kicking off with two nights at SWX in Bristol, shows at Leeds O2 Academy and Manchester New Century, before concluding on 1st November at London’s Troxy. They go on sale this Thursday at 10am. Check out the full tour dates, plus the video for “Swing (In a Dream),” below.
Squid Tour Dates
O Monolith tracklist
- Swing (In A Dream)
- Devil’s Den
- Siphon Song
- The Blades
- After The Flash
- Green Light
- If You Had Seen The Bull’s Swimming Attempts You Would Have Stayed Away
O Monolith releases on 9th June from Warp Records.
Words: Callie Petch