Brighton post-punk outliers Squid have been steadily establishing their frenzied barrage of funk as a force to cower before since 2017. Their debut EP received such a rapturous reception that last year they signed with celebrated experimental label Warp Records, then proceeding to drop three blistering singles for the label, getting their beaks wet before the ink was dry. Bit of Squid-related wordplay there. This has all culminated in the announcement of their upcoming debut album for Warp, Bright Green Field and the release of their first ever music video, for the track “Narrator”.
The video is beautifully bewildering, chaotic yet intricately designed, unhinged yet firmly hinged. You could describe Squid’s music in much the same way, making this a perfect synthesis. As the track locks into a groove instantly, we see landscapes shifting constantly until we finally settle on the band, playing on a good old rocky English beach as their surroundings continue to glitch and twitch. I suppose if you can’t go outside, creating a virtual world to constantly terraform around you is worth a punt.
As the track breaks down into an atmospheric section with a spoken word guest turn from Martha Skye Murphy, the video swoops along the mountains, zooming in and out, disorienting the viewer to the point where you don’t know if you’re looking at a pebble or a vast cliff face. I both would and would not recommend watching the video under the influence of hallucinogenics, or even mild sleep deprivation.
Before long we are transported away from Brighton pier and sent spinning along a thin strip of civilization towards the inner city, where Squid perform in a variety of urban locales in scratchy black and white. If I was a little more pretentious, I might say the effects and the different locations make some interesting points about the temporal nature of our surroundings, but I’m not quite there yet.
This kind of release is what separates Squid from the other purveyors of what some call “DIY Rock”, others call “Crank Wave” and a small neglected pocket of the internet calls “Wonk”, not to be confused with “Wonky”, often associated with the L.A. Beat scene. There is remarkable creativity in the way the band keeps the balance of form and abandon, sounding like the sum of their influences topped off with something unquantifiable. If Squid continue this rate of evolution, the album will change physical landscapes as well as digital ones. Bright Green Field is released on Warp Records on May 7.