SINGLE REVIEW: Squid – Narrator

Bristol five-piece Squid have resisted labelling since their breakout single ‘Houseplants,’ with NME dubbing them ‘avant-punk’ to fit somewhat alongside the likes of Black Midi and Black Country, New Road, although it doesn’t take much listening to them to realize they are far different. Rather than the spoken word reminiscent of Slint, Squid’s lead vocalist and drummer Ollie Judge is truculent, more closely resembling the likes of Joe Talbot. With this new single, ‘Narrator,’ Squid also announced the release of their debut album, Bright Green Field, coming out via Warp Records on the 7th of May.

Inspired by 2019 movie A Long Day’s Journey into Night, ‘Narrator’ tells the story of a man who is losing the ability to distinguish memories, dreams and reality from each other, with his own desires beginning to shape his reality– he becomes his own narrator. As well as Judge’s vocals, guest vocalist Martha Skye Murphy plays the part of a woman on the track, attempting to break free from the male character’s narrative.

The track is a sprawl of shrieking instrumentals, cryptic song writing, and smooth groove, packed beautifully over just over eight minutes. Ollie Judge and Martha Skye Murphy are emotive; actors as well as singers on the track, switching between spoken word, shouting, and screaming, narrating ‘Narrator’s’ narrative perfectly. The absolute chaos of the track is a journey to behold, and one that will be channelled throughout Squid’s debut, alongside various other narratives and emotional ranges.

You can listen to ‘Narrator’ here, and watch the music video, directed by Felix Green, here.

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Jack Oxford

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March 2021
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