Out of the new generation of guitar bands coming from the UK and Ireland, Squid quickly proved themselves to be one of the most exciting. Last year, they released a handful of infectious, shape-shifting singles, “The Cleaner” and “Match Bet.” (Each ranked amongst our favorite songs in their respective weeks.) Those tracks built up to the Town Centre EP, one of the best EPs of last year and an impressive enough hint of how far Squid could push their sound that we also opted to name them one of the best new bands of 2019. It was easy to hope for, and expect, big things from them next.
Today, we’re getting the first taste of whatever that next chapter will be. Squid have announced that they’ve signed to Warp Records, which presumably means there’ll be new music on the horizon in the not-too-distant future. And along with the news, they’ve shared a new single called “Sludge.” It originated during soundcheck jams while the band was on tour opening for Wire, and they once again teamed with Dan Carey to help bring it to life in the studio.
“Sludge” definitely makes good on the promise glimpsed on Town Centre. It has all of the core elements that have made Squid’s early so memorable — funky and off-kilter rhythms, clipped post-punk guitars mixed with more warped psychedelic embellishments, Ollie Judge’s bug-eyed and anxious bleat. “Sludge” drifts further out even than the epic “The Cleaner,” situating itself between the band’s more direct 2019 singles and the EP’s total zone-out atmospheric transitions. Also, there’s a dramatic break at the end where Judge, who earlier in the song sings about losing himself to endless TV, sings “I’m lying on my bed/ With celebrity chefs”; the climax that follows is catharsis by way of noise overload. Check it out below.