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Squid – Swing (In A Dream) Review

Booming complexity, thumping away as all the pieces fall into place mark the post-punk qualities of Squid as immediate and obvious. Harsh charms as drummer Ollie Judge guides the band through a layered piece that sounds as combustible and messy as the nest of wires surely forming around the band members. Instrument after instrument, swerve after swerve, an incredible variety to Swing (In A Dream) gives Squid the momentum they desire ahead of O Monolith. Gritty, biting and most crucial of all, confident. Straight up disgusting, absolutely filthy lyrics as the descent into screams and lucid bits and pieces come together. Such is life too, Swing (In A Dream) may have slumber and dreams at its core, but its progression is frankly nightmarish.  

Starting soft and charming, ending with brass and bold explosions of madness, it was only natural that such a process would start and end like that for Squid. Their motivation is disassociation. Worries in dreams catch onto an obvious problem for many. Sanctity of sleep broken up by a fear of falling, failing or nightmarish intent. Squid capture that tone and give it a range like no other. Pursuit of that spaced-out art punk is a nice turn for the Brighton-birthed band. Even after their first album, Squid still feel fresh and Swing (In A Dream) does more than express kraut-rock explosions, but it showcases an innocence that marks the track as surprisingly sweet. Sincerity like that comes in waves. 

For Swing (In A Dream), a track that acts as a warning shot to black midi and Black Country, New Road, bouncy momentum from lyrics that question the living inside of a dream. Even then the ominous density of Squid’s latest piece gives it that delicate nature only the best have hit on. A very articulate and easy example of electronic experimentation. Jazz troupes hit on the same push-and-shove style. Instrumentals that come together and give way to one another, nicely straightened out before diving into guttural range and alarming extra bits and pieces. Squid manage it with dominant focus, handled with care and it becomes a deserving end rather than a sudden burst that comes from nowhere. Swing (In A Dream) has the crucial steps needed to make its grand finale as intense as it is, but it also makes it an unexpected shift. 

Considering Squid and their releases so far, perhaps the blowout of Swing (In A Dream) should be no surprise at all. Yet with their shock variety of pacing and style comes an intense and refreshing flair. Squid are far more promising here than on their debut, and that may be because they have had time to consolidate where they are headed next. Now that the momentum is behind them for something special, something maddening, they step up their game. Swing (In A Dream) marks an exciting first slice of O Monolith, and if this is the consistency the gang are gearing up for, then listeners are in for a treat. Brutal, touching and soothing all at once as Squid career through an incredible sophomore album. 

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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