Squid – O Monolith

An intricate web that is an absolute joy to get tangled up in.

Label: Warp
Released: 9th June 2023

Squid have learnt to embrace falling headfirst. Often, they find themselves landing into musical magic. The kind of alchemic, fated moments where things that shouldn’t work magically do, and make the kind of transcendent musical moments Squid excel at. Their debut album, ‘Bright Green Field’, teetered on the edge of claustrophobic – compressing on your chest till you were gasping for air against the force of those rattling, chaotic sounds. On their second effort, ‘O Monolith’, there’s room to stretch out and breathe.

That’s not to say it doesn’t shake with fraught tension, however. It wouldn’t be Squid without it – the crawling, simmering vocals of Ollie Judge build tauntingly on tracks like ‘Devil’s Den’. Yet, where their earlier releases seemed to encroach on your space, ‘O Monolith’ leaves you to the elements. It swirls around you before crawling into the brush and onto the breeze. They take the shape of their posthumous selves, or they dive into the jarring world of celebrity – it’s spirited and spiralling, commanding your attention. ‘O Monolith’ could never be a passive listen – it requires an attentive tuning in of every musical choice. ‘The Blades’ embarks on a fizzing journey before becoming the most tender version of the band yet – muttered vocals and restrained guitars; it’s a different side to Squid that ensures you will always, always be kept guessing.

Squid have always been a band crackling with energy, kinetically sparking in every direction. Their debut seemed to have that energy bouncing around a confined space. On ‘O Monolith’, they are free to cast their intelligent, inimitable ways around a much larger space – they reach as far as they can and fill every little breath with something to untangle and puzzle over. They are at their best when they are at their most complex – ‘O Monolith’ is an intricate web that is an absolute joy to get tangled up in.

4.0 rating
Total Score

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