Squid Album Launch Show – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds – Wednesday 14th June 2023

This is yet another show like the recent DMA at the Crescent in York, with help from Crash Records in Leeds, where fans can buy multiple ticket packages at affordable prices for an intimate show while they’re buying new albums. So, the big room was full of Squid fans. Considering the band can now sell out venues like the Academy in Leeds this is a small and intimate show. OK, I know that O2 Academy Leeds’ October event may not have sold out yet, but I’m sure it will. I think it’s hard to beat seeing a great band in a great grassroots venue like Brudenell. This was my first opportunity to see Brighton’s class five in action and like the partisan crowd I was looking forward to it with great hope and excitement. The show begins with almost eerie, drone-like orchestral music flowing slowly over the stage like an audio version of the first sign of the sea mist in John Carpenter’s ‘The Fog’. It was the sound that set the scene perfectly for the band to waltz onto the stage and take their positions.

The show was mostly about showing off their highly acclaimed new album ‘O Monolith’ which was released just days before this performance. The band has previously stated that the album is influenced by The New Puritans and Talk Talk, among others, I can see the influence, but I can hear so much more in their deep, dark, sometimes thunderous tunes and melodies. They opened with the second single from ‘O Monolith’, the epic, stygian bass-driven “Undergrowth”. If Donny McCaslin had worked with Talking Heads and had hired Stanley Clarke on bass, it might have accomplished what this track does. Next up is the slightly softer one, at least partially, “Devil’s Den”, intentionally or not, I can hear Thom Yorke in his far left field here. Next, the band unveiled “GSK” from their 2021 debut album ‘Bright Green Field’, this is not a song about a pharmaceutical giant, but a reflection of a journey from Bristol to London that passes through a large building occupied by Glaxo Smith. Klin. It has a complex jazz feel to its construction, its tune, not its build, and its synth-style sound evokes late-’70s Giorgio Moroder. Instrumentally “After The Flash” feels like the warped result of Bowie’s epitaph ‘Black Star’ despite Ollie Judge’s vocals coming from a dynamic parallel universe.

My highlight might be “If You See a Bull Trying to Swim, You’ll Walk Away,” which is also probably my favorite song title for a long time. I can see a Mark Hollis influence here, maybe with a dash of Radiohead, a dash of 60’s muzak, and a Squid pack. I thought it would make a great addition to a horror film co-directed by Tim Burton and Stanley Kubrick. Talking about the movie, “Documentary Filmmaker” that performs perfectly is the next song, a great song from the first album of the band, which is enhanced in a great way. Unfortunately, the short set ended with the incredible opening “Swing (In A Dream)” and the first single from ‘O Monolith’, every band was in top form for this and the emotion from Judge’s vocals was matched by how the music swirled with the changes. own mood. This is a very good set from a great band, bring it on the October tour!

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