Squid, emancipated heralds of British post-punk

The Squid group, in January.  From left to right: Laurie Nankivell, Anton Pearson, Louis Borlase, Ollie Judge, Arthur Leadbetter.

In 2023, rock is not dead, but it no longer embodies the avant-garde and prefers to rest comfortably on its achievements. Innovation and youth now tend to turn towards rap and R’n’B. Nevertheless, there are still some pockets of resistance, as evidenced by Oh Monoliththe second album by post-punk fanatics Squid, who always seek to shake things up with electric guitars – but not only –, while emancipating themselves from classic verse-chorus structures. “I really don’t think we’ll ever write some sort of standard song, with a verse, chorus, bridge”assures the singer and drummer of the group, Ollie Judge, met at the end of April in the opulent living room of a Parisian hotel in the 9e arrondissement.

Before becoming one of the most prominent young British teams, our five budding pioneers met in 2016 on the benches of Brighton University. The two thinking heads of the group, Ollie Judge and the guitarist and singer Louis Borlase, friends from the conservatory, are initiated together into the motorik explorations of the Germans Neu! and the unclassifiable Londoners This Heat. A feverish first mini-album appears in 2019, on the independent label Speedy Wunderground: Town Center (EP) oozes the rough funk of the elders Gang of Four and the no wave impulses of LCD Soundsystem, on esoteric texts hammered at the top of their lungs. At the same time, a new rock scene began to emerge across the Channel, whose figureheads were Squid, Black Midi and Black Country, New Road.

In January 2020, during the Dutch Eurosonic festival, a major market for live music, Brightonians caused a sensation with their formidable stage presence. Two months later, the Earth suddenly stops rotating due to the Covid-19 epidemic. Squid’s first album, Bright Green Field, finally released in May 2021 with the important house Warp (Aphex Twin, Battles). Refined during the first confinements, the disc allows the group to fill the rooms and festivals in England and on the Old Continent, including, in France, the Rock en Seine festival.

Ethereal beaches

On the road, the quintet is already working on writing new songs. Facing a seated and masked audience, the “molluscs” (Squid, in English) allow themselves creative spaces during their set, improvise instrumentals. Five compositions result from it on Oh Monolith. “For the first album, we had the luxury of having accumulated a lot of songs, commented Ollie Judge, a shy boy with a false air of Ed Sheeran. This time, practically all of our new compositions are on the disc. »

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