UNDERGROWTH SINGLE & VIDEO GAME
O MONOLITH LP // WARP // 9 JUNE 2023
NORTH AMERICAN TOUR // WINTER 2024
SQUID present new single UNDERGROWTH from their sophomore album O MONOLITH, out via Warp Records on 9 June. Alongside a video game inspired by the single and made by Frank Force, the band have also shared a visualiser directed by Louis Borlase, guitarist in the band, and announced their biggest North American tour to date. Full dates and tickets available from the band’s website.
Already renowned for their unerring experimentation, the new single sees SQUID continue their idiosyncratic sonic journey. The track is a heady cocktail of sounds and styles with dubbed-out bass grooves under cinematic synth chops which explode into bursts of hyper-rock guitar and frenetic bass.
Through the radical meld of textures and tones, drummer and vocalist Ollie Judge still manages to create an earworm chorus of “Ergonomic for the rest of my days / I’d rather melt away”. Themes of environmental peril, morality and the natural world are all present on Undergrowth, and further explored on the rest of O Monolith – on the lyrics of Undergrowth, Judge says:
“I really got into animism, the idea that spirits can live in inanimate objects. I was watching Twin Peaks, and there was an episode where Josie Packard’s spirit goes into a chest of drawers. So Undergrowth was written from the perspective of me being reincarnated as a bedside table in the afterlife, and how the thought of being reincarnated as an inanimate object would be dreadful. ‘This isn’t what I wanted / So many options to be disappointed’. Even though I’m in no way religious, I don’t think anyone who isn’t religious is confident enough to have never had the fleeting thought of, ‘What if there is an afterlife? What if I’m going to Hell?’.”
Introducing UNDERGROWTH the game! A bit like the bastardised love child of Super Mario and Space Invaders with an English Folklore twist. Who’s gonna get the high score? Who’s gonna defeat the monolith? Frank Force says: “Imagine the game itself as an interactive music video where gameplay and animation is synched up to the music and changes as the song progresses, moving into different phases.”
Louis Borlase, who shot the visualiser, explains the story behind it: “When we were writing O Monolith we rented a little studio in St Paul’s and whichever way we’d walk home, the BRI Hospital chimney would always be standing there, jutting out in front of a disc of countryside beyond – the home of the Devil’s Den, a stable’s worth of chalk horses further afield towards Cherhill, Pewsey and Westbury. Sometimes it feels like most folklore hides in the countryside’s nooks; at other times it comes closer, lurking in the bins on the walk back from the shops.”
The first single from the album, Swing (In A Dream), was added to the A-list at BBC 6 Music and received support from press globally. Production on the singles and the album come from long time collaborator Dan Carey and is complemented by mixing from John McEntire of Tortoise. “There’s an intensity to Dan’s recordings that works really well, and John added a spacious, natural sound to that,” explains trumpet player Laurie Nankivell.
The songs on O Monolith came 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 in environment further pushed the development of the band’s sound from claustrophobic post-punk to something more free-flowing and spacious.
Expansive, evocative and hugely varied, O Monolith retains Squid’s restless, enigmatic spirit. It’s a reflection of the 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 UK & IRISH DATES
Fri 05 WREXHAM Focus Wales Festival
Sun 18 WICKLOW Beyond The Pale Festival
Fri 21 HERTFORDSHIRE Standon Calling Festival
Sat 22 OXFORD SHIRE Truck Festival
Sat 05 LONDON Rally Festival
Fri 18 BRECON Green Man 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
O MONOLITH track listing
· Swing (In A Dream)
· Devil’s Den
· Siphon Song
· The Blades
· After The Flash
· Green Light
· If You Had Seen The Bull’s Swimming Attempts You Would Have Stayed Away
· LOUIS BORLASE (guitar and vocals)
· OLLIE JUDGE (drums and lead vocals)
· ARTHUR LEADBETTER (keyboards, strings and percussion)
· LAURIE NANKIVELL (bass and brass)
· ANTON PEARSON (guitars and vocals)
My life is a soundtrack, i track my life through music, photography is my passion, my escape, my expression. Without both i have pieces missing, thankfully i’m blessed and get to combine both.
Born in Manchester, lived in Australia for 22 years where i was heavily involved in the Australian Music Industry, firstly in bands (Singer) and then managing bands (all original), I moved back to the UK, Wales specifically 10 years ago and married my childhood sweetheart and life is good.