Reviews

Squid “O Monolith” Album Review

O Monolith

Squid

  • Genre: Alternative
  • Date: 09 Jun, 2023
  • Content: Not-explicit
  • Region: NGA
  • Track(s): 8
  • ℗ 2023 Warp Records

Squid, a vital component of the UK’s developing post-punk movement, has returned with their second album, “O Monolith.” Their second album, which was created during the post-lockdown gig time, is significantly darker and more unified than their debut, and it represents their best-ever discography of songs.

It’s clear from listening to O Monolith that the band has put more effort than ever into experimentation, unafraid to investigate new time signatures, soft/loud dichotomies, and more intense soundscapes. Even though Squid’s latest album only has eight tracks, it is by no means short on quality. Each song is masterfully composed and meticulously layered, with each instrument enhancing the others’ emotional impact.

Though never overdone, the songs on “O Monolith” have a bigger feel than anything Squid has ever recorded. The band demonstrates its dominance in accurately portraying the contemporary condition, which is preoccupied with uncertainty and the dominance of domesticity. Squid are more than just another band in the crowded post-punk revival scene, as the new album demonstrates.

Album Cover Art

Squid &Quot;O Monolith&Quot; Album Review, Yours Truly, Reviews, April 19, 2024

Over the background of coordinated wavy lines, colorfully animated figures assume different postures and positions to spell the album title. Simple yet chic.

Tracks and Features

The album’s opening track, “Swing (In a Dream),” keeps up a steady rhythm with krautrock influences, which Judge’s vocal harmonies enhance. The music increases up the speed with a sense of urgency before exploding into one fantastic moody release, though, as electronics whir in and out, adding a stronger sense of texture. On the following song, “Devil’s Den,” numerous instruments weave in and out of one another before exploding into an enjoyable cacophony.

The album is grounded in a deep, dark pastoral atmosphere, and the best tune, “Siphon Song,” uses eerie melodies, synths, and backing vocals that sound like they could be used as the soundtrack of a contemporary folk horror film. Before reaching a hazy, menacing outburst, electronically altered vocals are played over percussion that has been slowly rising.

“The Blades” captures the grim truth of the bureaucratic wasteland that has become a city on the verge of collapse. The six and a half minute, multi-stage journey through rage comes to a close with tenderly and vulnerablely sung doomer lyrics. The outro, in which Judge pushes himself beyond his customary comfortable area and into noticeably more technical and vulnerable territory, demonstrates how Judge’s vocals are more mellow than ever.

“Undergrowth,” which is buoyed by a bassline with funk influences and brightens up the underlying screeches, offers a brief reprieve. But as cutting-edge electronic sounds gain prominence and dissonant jazz interrupt the steady rhythm, these ominous sounds finally materialize.

For “After the Flash,” Martha Skye Murphy, who contributed vocals to a song from the group’s last album, is back. Her voice is a welcome addition since it gives the already slow-yet-staccato song a touch of sweet delicacy. As Judge sings, “How hard can it be/ To live a normal life?” the music begins to sound more ecclesiastical around the halfway point before introducing more erratic noises, including a saxophone.

A stunning, almost dystopian conclusion is achieved on the album’s final track, “If You Had Seen The Bull’s Swimming Attempts You Would Have Stayed Away,” which combines eager whispers, sultry guitar riffs, and passionate backing vocals.

Tracklist

NO TITLE TIME
1 Swing (In a Dream) 4:29
2 Devil’s Den 3:05
3 Siphon Song 5:58
4 Undergrowth 6:35
5 The Blades 6:28
6 After the Flash 5:34
7 Green Light 4:23
8 If You Had Seen the Bull’s Swimming Attempts You Would Have Stayed Away 5:14

Album Theme

Thematically, the record proves challenging to define. The album’s message is as mysterious as monoliths themselves, landing as a massive, solid whole. However, Squid’s songs typically have a strong social consciousness, and the age-old argument between nature and nurture is challenged.

Production Credits

Dan Carey produced the album.

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