Squid certainly are a different kettle of fish. Having watched them rip the roof off Manchester venue YES recently – soaked full of soapbox moments and extraordinary solo presentations – the band’s debut EP Town Centre deserves nothing short of high praise. The Brighton five-piece are alternative to the max; alternative in their stage presence and agenda, alternative in their sonic approach.
Calling Squid a rock band doesn’t do their sound – the experience – justice. They draw on the kookiness of 70s cult bands and the dominance of post-punk in modern-day Britain, and Town Centre, released on vinyl last month on Speedy Wundergroud Records, wholly embodies this.
Squid manage in four tracks to rival the punch of the band’s live impact, and effectively and compactly translate their heart and soul throughout. The EP is bookended by opener ‘Savage’, an ominous and distorted instrumental, almost Pink Floyd-ian in its sinister false build up and use of brass; and ‘Rodeo’, which closes the show with a heavy bass, more sultry brass and stripped back vocals, picking way up and dropping way back down again before “Six more seconds at the rodeo” echoes out.
Second track ‘Match Bet’ picks up the pace with drummer/frontman Ollie Judge’s vocal approach reminiscent of dark punk from decades gone by, undulating between a sense of control and squawking mayhem, whilst a catchy backing loop limits the alienation of the listener.
‘The Cleaner’ possesses an electronic funk through which punk overtones again bring us back to that 70s alternativism; there’s no denying the verses draw comparisons to Dire Straights intensified by peculiar Americanisms in Judge’s vocals.
Squid are truly free with their expression, both on and off the stage, grounded with nonchalance born out of unwavering passion and belief in their cause. It won’t be long until Squid’s absurd talent and infectious aura is selling out the UK’s most prestigious venues. Town Centre is not in any way a pleasant or comfortable listen – but then again, definitely not designed to be.
Words by Yasmin Duggan.