‘Bright Green Field’ is an album concerned with exposing a misanthropic reactionary worldview, and bleaching it out in the sun.
Words: Adam Davidson | Photo: Holly Whitaker
Squid’s striking maturity shows they are already years ahead of where they should be on Bright Green Field. Compositionally, the music is subtle and complex, with horns augmenting the guitars and keys here and there. This fruitful tapestry of sounds is filtered through the familiar genres of post-punk, alternative rock and a little dash of krautrock. With observations on populism, middle England and late-stage capitalism aplenty, Squid attempt to make sense of the world as they see it, in an ever-changing artistic and political landscape.
On the surface, this album is fairly straightforward. But a quick bit of research and reading will reveal a wealth of commentary and referencing – Peel St. is about Anna Kavan’s novel Ice, while Documentary Filmmaker is inspired by minimalist composer Steve Reich. There is a lot of anger on Bright Green Field, but Squid use these cultural nods to show their emotion comes from a measured perspective. They are book readers, rather than pulpit preachers.
Narrator is the most compelling song on the album. A frantic, eight-minute-and-change behemoth, it’s lyrical themes dig deep into the problematic nature of cherry-picking elements to form a personal reality. It’s directly influenced by the film A Long Day’s Journey Into Light, though the wider social commentary here is obvious. Guest vocalist Martha Skye Murphy offers a counterpoint to Oliver Judge’s strung-out screaming, representing someone trying to break free from the fantasy world the narrator has created. Narrator is a twisted duet, with a four minute closing section that somehow gets more intense each time you listen to it.
Boy Racers is similarly lengthy, but this time the band strip back the layers of meaning and go for something lighter. This is two entirely disparate compositions moulded together – after the straight-up math riffing comes the extended ambient outro. Squid resist the urge to drag the song back for a final chorus, again this is a sign of maturity well beyond their short time together. The album’s closer Pamphlets is a worthy finishing note, as we are treated to a final apoplectic blast from Judge. Like with many songs on Bright Green Field, his lyrics are in the voice of another person, and they are paranoid, righteous and insular.
Bright Green Field doesn’t offer any solutions. It’s an album concerned with exposing a misanthropic reactionary worldview, and bleaching it out in the sun. Squid aren’t interested in the proverbial olive branch – it’s too late for that. Bright Green Field is slick and sharp, it will wow you with it’s breakdowns and fervent climaxes. This debut sparkles with promise, but more importantly brims with well-rooted musical prowess. Squid don’t have the potential to grow into a great band – They already are a great band.