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The propulsive post-punk of U.K. upstarts Squid began gaining traction the late 2010s with a handful of early singles helping the Brighton band net a deal with Dan Carey’s Speedy Wunderground imprint. The buzz only grew with prime festival appearances and the 2019 release of their Town Centre EP. Switching to the Warp label and with Carey producing, Squid released their acclaimed debut album, Bright Green Field, in early 2021. The more progressive and rhythmically intricate O Monolith followed in 2023.
Formed while at university in Brighton, the five-piece — Ollie Judge (vocals, drums), Louis Borlase (vocals, guitar), Anton Pearson (guitar), Laurie Nankivell (bass), and Arthur Leadbetter (keys) — played their first gig after replying to an advert for a “young person’s jazz night.” Quickly putting a set list together, their idiosyncratic mix of half-yelped, half-sung vocals, jerky, angular guitars, brass blasts, and droney synth lines caught the ears of the U.K.’s underground scene with gigs following across the South-East with regular trips to London. The group issued a handful of tracks and singles — 2016’s “Perfect Teeth” and 2017′s “LINO” — before being picked up by Speedy Wunderground, home to the likes of black midi, TOY, and Kae Tempest. “The Dial” appeared toward the end of 2018, with the group making a name for themselves in 2019 with packed live shows including slots at the Green Man and Glastonbury festivals. Rounding out the year, Squid issued a second release for the label, the four-track EP Town Centre. In 2020, after inking a deal with Sheffield’s legendary Warp Records, the group set about recording their debut album. With Dan Carey (Kae Tempest, black midi) on production duties, the group fine-tuned their mix of discordant indie rock and post-punk, resulting in their debut album. Bright Green Field was issued by Warp at the beginning of 2021. A critical and commercial success, the album topped the U.K. Independent albums chart and reached number four on the pop chart. More touring and appearances at Glastonbury, Green Man, and other major festivals followed. For their follow-up, Squid became even more adventurous, leaning heavily into prog rock and furnishing their new songs with a more elaborate rhythmic sense. Much of the material was worked out on tour and then recorded in Wiltshire. O Monolith was released in June 2023. ~ Rich Wilson