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SINGLE REVIEW: SQUID – BROADCASTER (WARP)

Squid recently signed to Warp records, following a superb, ambitious EP, and a few singles that also slap. Even the last one, ‘Sludge’ , which played it safe(r) instrumentally had lyrical drive that made it enjoyable, being relateable with the times. Each track has given off different vibes, with synthetic forward thinking modern elements. Whether the vibe is XTC, Brian Eno doing music for drones, or The B52’s on steroids (At their best. Seriously, when will DJ’s start playing ‘The Cleaner’ in nightclubs?) this band have an addictive quality that is hard to dislike. But where to now that they’re on the road to a debut album?

Well evidently further down the rabbit hole of influences. Here Squid dive fully into leftfield, minimalist electronic music, with the help of Dan Carey on production. The track is a complete departure from the punk influenced eccentricities of their previous work. Instead focusing on hypnosis, and textures. There is no trumpet on this number. No pounding bass line, or slashing guitar riffs.

Instead ‘Broadcaster’ runs off an arpeggiated synth, and electronic drums. Other synths caccoon around these elements. Often reminding me of the ambient work Aphex Twin put out in the mid 90s, or anything that might be found on a dodgy 4am pirate radio station. Lyrically, it is subdued too. There is only one verse (repeated) and a minimal chorus. Yet that is all it needs. Lyrically based on June Paik’s TV Garden installation, the piece uses haunting, abstract imagery of feeling small, hiding from some form of technology. ‘I’m in the tall grass. Broadcaster speaks to me. I’m as small as a bug. The lights are so pretty’. Again, fitting for our COVID climate.

While I really enjoy this one (especially when the drums kick in), I wonder how Squid’s album will flow. The two Warp tracks follow similar themes of dystopia filled isolation, yes, but have no instrumental links. They sound like completely different bands in fact. I know the EP started with the peculiar drone number ‘Savage’, but this new cut takes away more elements of what makes Squid Squid. Not that i’m complaining about the ambition. I think this is one of their best tracks to date.

The band have announced a 10 inch limited, double A side single for this track and ‘Sludge’. It can be pre ordered here: https://squid.warp.net/?_ga=2.55555179.1716959801.1590000529-473886049.1590000529

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