Brighton post punkers Squid release their second album `O Monolith` this month, the follow up to 2021`s `Bright Green Field`.

The album opens with ‘Swing (In A Dream)’ where the lyrical inspiration was Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s painting The Swing. “I had a dream about this painting – it was all flooded, and everything was floating away” lead singer Ollie Judge explained. “I thought it might be a climate anxiety dream, so I rode with that and imagined everyone screaming and dying – like that scene in Terminator 2: Judgement Day.” It`s pretty eclectic with keys, pulsing drums and a variety of aural soundscapes blended with vocals that seem to channel a sense of anxiety. The track ends in a kind of cacophony of sound. We have a fairly trippy offering with ‘Devil’s Den’ whose lyrics are pretty “out there” but may hint at a pact with the devil, who knows.

‘Siphon Song’ begins with a laid-back jazz texture as vocals that seem to be shared through a vocoder or voice encryptor join before the track veers off on a diverse musical jam of sorts. The track seems to merge into ‘Undergrowth’ which begins with a funky beat before heading off on a diverse quite exploratory voyage.

‘The Blades’ is a further psychedelic composition that floats along on a quite spellbinding wave of sounds with lyrics nigh on screamed throughout before the number calms and eases out on a more gentle, reflective ambient touch. There`s a pretty appealing or enticing sense to ‘After The Flash’ which becomes quite hypnotic before almost stopping midway then resuming its odd spellbinding aural sensibility.  

‘Green Light’ has a primitive raw post punk rant like lyrical vibe about it with a backdrop at times that swings from jagged and angular to more melodic, oddly enchanting. The bizarrely but wonderfully titled `If You Had Seen The Bull’s Swimming Attempts You Would Have Stayed Away’ leads us out and it`s a final unconventional piece. At times it`s an atmospheric stream of consciousness, then fairly cinematic before becoming mantra like before ending abruptly.  

`O Monolith` is I have to say pretty experimental almost prog like, avant-garde and at times off kilter.

It felt quite abstract and could almost be a concept album without a concept but a fairly compelling listen, nevertheless.

A difficult second album? or just difficult to listen to? That`s for you to decide.

Rating 8 / 10

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