SQUID announce their new album, O MONOLITH, out on 9 June via Warp Records, and present the lead single, SWING (IN A DREAM). Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RooBTIwG13c
Over the course of the last couple of years, and with their Top 5 charting debut Bright Green Field, SQUID have established themselves as one of the most innovative new bands in the UK, both live and on record: “eschewing individual showmanship in favour of scorching collective peaks” (Pitchfork).
Produced by long-time collaborator Dan Casey and mixed by John McEntire (of Tortoise) their second album, O MONOLITH, teems with melodic epiphanies and is a musical evocation of environment, domesticity and self-made folklore. Like its predecessor it is dense and tricksy but also warmer with a winding, questioning nature. A sense of open conversation is cultivated; this is unmistakably music made by friends.
The return of SQUID would not be complete without a run of live dates to give fans the opportunity to catch them at their raw best. Having sold out their underplay at London Scala in a matter of minutes, SQUID announce their most ambitious tour to date, taking in their largest ever headline shows including Troxy in London.
Fans who pre-order O MONOLITH by midday on MONDAY 13 FEBRUARY via the band’s website will get first access to tickets for the tour. General sale begins on THURSDAY 16 FEBRUARY at 10am. Pre-order link: https://squid.ffm.to/omonolith
SWING (IN A DREAM) premiered on the Steve Lamacq BBC 6 Music show and is a compelling first glimpse of this new phase of SQUID. Beginning with an airy, cascading synth line and electronic, percussive stabs, the verse grows over singer Ollie Judge’s most melodic vocal to date. At times a tense listen, SWING (IN A DREAM) is full of bold, explosive moments that build on intricate detail into a claustrophobic climax.
On the new single, singer and drummer Ollie Judge explains: “This was inspired by a dream I had about a painting called The Swing by Jean-Honoré Fragonard. In my dream I was in the painting but it was flooded and everything was floating away.”
The single arrives alongside a superbly absurd Where’s Wally style video featuring friends and family of the band. Director Yoonha Park on the video: “I was interested in exploring visual ideas from Where’s Waldo, Richard Scarry and Brueghel as a means to express anxieties about the climate crisis.”
SQUID began work on O MONOLITH only two weeks after the release of Bright Green Field while the band were on tour in 2021. “Without that tour, we wouldn’t have any of these tracks,” says Judge of the fully seated, socially distanced shows that allowed them to test out work-in-progress music. “People were so looking forward to seeing live music again that we thought we could just play anything, even if it was unfinished. In some form or another we played about 80% of O Monolith, mostly without lyrics”.
The songs continued to come together in rehearsal rooms around Bristol, where the band were based at the time, eventually moving to Peter Gabriel’s luxe Real World studios in Wiltshire. This change of environment further pushed the development of the band’s sound from claustrophobic post-punk to something more free-flowing and spacious.
The environment around the studio also had a palpable influence. Although originating in Brighton and now largely based in South London, every member of the band has a strong connection with the West Country, which only deepened during the recording process. One interpretation of O MONOLITH is a condensation of the environment into song. “There’s a running theme of the relation of people to the environment throughout,” says guitarist and vocalist Louis Borlase. “There are allusions to the world we became so immersed in – environmental emergency, the role of domesticity, the displacement you feel when you’re away for a long time”.
Elements of British folk music quite naturally found their way onto some songs, including field recordings from the area around the studio. Contributors include Martha Skye Murphy, following her appearance on Narrator from Bright Green Field; Roger Bolton, who maintains the Fairlight samplers known for their pioneering use by Kate Bush; and vocal ensemble Shards.
Expansive, evocative and hugely varied, O MONOLITH retains the band’s restless, enigmatic spirit. It’s a reflection of the outsized progression of a band always looking to the future. “We’re quite a musically stubborn band and, in an endearing way, it’s a stubborn record,” says Judge. And like its namesake, O MONOLITH is vast and strange, alive with endless possible interpretations of its inner mysteries.
2023 TOUR DATES
Fri 05 WREXHAM Focus Wales Festival
Sun 18 WICKLOW Beyond The Pale Festival
Fri 30 BELGIUM Rock Werchter Festival
Sun 02 GERMANY Fusion Festival
Fri 21 HERTFORDSHIRE Standon Calling Festival
Sat 22 OXFORD SHIRE Truck Festival
Wed 16 PORTUGAL Paredes De Coura Festival
Fri 18 BRECON Green Man Festival
Sat 02 NETHERLANDS Into The Great Wide Open Festival
Fri 13 BRISTOL SWX
Sat 14 BRISTOL SWX
Mon 16 BIRMINGHAM Town Hall
Tue 17 LEEDS O2 Academy
Wed 18 MANCHESTER New Century
Sat 21 GLASGOW Barrowland
Sun 22 NEWCASTLE Boiler Shop
Tue 24 BELFAST Mandela Hall
Wed 01 LONDON Troxy