Genreless, with every genre
Post-global pandemic and the semi-apocalyptic year of 2020, Squid released their debut album that encompasses the fear and wonder of dystopia. Bright Green Field is a mad mixture of a multitude of sounds, lyrics and energies that are both innovative and thought-provoking. The album perfectly captures the exciting yet terrifying sound of the future with its use of synth and its odd but fascinating lyrics. Once the dust of one song settles, a completely new thing is revealed, leaving the listener wondering what they’re going to hear next.
In the first couple of minutes of Bright Green Field, listeners get “G.S.K.”—a brilliant introduction to Squid as a band. With this song, people will get the hint that the lyrics tend to border on the edge of intelligence and insanity. It’s with this song that people are introduced to all of the British screamings that the album has to offer, a wonderful feature of the album. With “G.S.K.,” one will immediately get the taste of dystopian horror that the album has to offer. It has a wonderfully upbeat sound to it, with lyrics that reference a “concrete island” (the novel by British author J.G Ballard). The G.S.K in question is a reference to the British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, which makes the whole song creepier with lyrics like “I pray to the G.S.K..” The song fades out like the end of an ’80s action film, with a repeating funky synth beat. But this dystopian imagining is just the beginning.
“Narrator” follows, adding a twist to the dystopian storyline. This song features indie artist Martha Skye Murphy, who goes from soft singing to screaming as it plays out. Coming in at one of the longest songs of the album at almost eight minutes, “Narrator” decides to tell a story, or rather, a story that has been told far too many times. A male voice dubs himself as the “narrator” throughout the track, while the female voice of Murphy tries to break free from the world that the “narrator” has created. The imagery and storytelling can be seen in the lyrics that Murphy sings: “mold beauty out of clay, write words for me to say.” It quickly becomes clear that the woman is trying to break free from a world where she is portrayed as submissive and her face flushed out with “features from a magazine.”
The next song, “Boy Racers,” will fool people. It starts off as a peppy little pop song about a “teen girl fantasy” gone wrong. The lyrics have some dark undertones, but that darkness is heightened as the song continues. The track quickly melts away into a nightmarish sound that the band describes as a “medieval synth solo.” It’s hard to listen to if you’re alone, but it encapsulates such intense fear and dark energy that, in a way, defies description. Highly recommend not to listen to this in a dark room, as it might haunt you for the rest of the night.
“Documentary Filmmaker” couples the sounds of a funky saxophone with more British screaming. In between the screaming bits, the song loses its energy and becomes softer and quieter, creating a sad atmosphere. The song ends quickly but doesn’t, elongating the fade-out, which features the sounds of a faded saxophone and the twinkling of a few solemn keyboard keys.
“Peel St.” starts off with a few seemingly nonsensical sounds, which turn into a fast-paced beat. This beat is followed by the absolute perfect amount of British screaming. It references the novel Ice by Anna Kavan, a post-apocalyptic story. The chorus of this song is incredibly catchy with the lyrics: “I’m falling out, I’m falling in, oh Anna.” It has a great sound to it, and it doesn’t shy away from the whimsy and oddness that’s present in the rest of the songs.
“Global Groove” starts off as a throbbing, panic-provoking track with the repeating phrase “tap, tap-tapping away” before giving in to the “global groove.” The song shifts into a funky vibe with some more saxophone, but not forgetting the uncomfortable sounds of wind and ambiance from the beginning. The funk notes creep it’s way into the song, making it crawl to an end.
The songs on Bright Green Field are refreshing in the weirdest possible way. It’s nothing like you’ve heard before, and yet, familiar at the same time. It’s a fantastic start for Squid, who definitely will leave listeners wanting more after listening to this album. Some songs make people look behind their back in fear, while others make people think about a (perhaps not so distant) dystopian future.