Words by Shaan Sira
I’ll be honest, my music taste since this lockdown nonsense started has spiralled into acoustic versions of Cotton Eyed Joe playing in the background as I curl up into a ball and sob to myself in-between extended naps.
So when I was given a song to review that describes itself as ‘kind of written about self-isolation before it was a government-enforced lifestyle’, believe me when I say I was hoping for something to save me from my bottomless pit of despair and self-loathing.
It starts strong; a wailing drone, strong confident drums with a melancholic guitar over the top builds up my spirits, gets me ready for an experience I’d love to play on repeat over and over again whilst I try to make sense of this ridiculous world we now seem to inhabit. At 38 seconds it goes… nowhere.
The anticlimax from this strong beginning into this plain bass-driven verse is like night and day. Gone is the melancholic opening riff, the strong drums, the drone, and in its place, an uninspired bass that sounds like me practising my scales in Year 8, and some scratchy guitar not out of place from a kid messing around with some pedals at your local music shop.
By the time the vocals hit, Squid have already betrayed me, and do so further with the singers pantomime, grating and forced presence. Have you ever heard any tracks by Rockwell? That is the closest comparison I can come to vocally. Nothing about the singer’s voice feels natural. It’s a fake, cheesy and uninspired- definitely the wrong side of the 1980s to draw influence from.
It’s not all doom and gloom - Over the course of the track, the build that was promised in the first 30 seconds is finally delivered, with the vocalist shrieking over a soaring guitar and anthemic drumming, before pulling into a stripped-down bridge, with the song ending on an absolute high, giving you a taste of what this band can do.
Sludge is not Squid’s best work.
This is not the song that you relate to during self isolation. All it will do is set you on edge and make you annoyed that the potential of this band is wasted on this sub-par track.
Go check out The Cleaner by Squid though- that song is an absolute bop.