Everynight Charley

Squid at the Music Hall of Williamsburg / March 23, 2022

Weirdness in music draws attention in a world where so many popular music acts sound so similar. Squid is an unorthodox post-punk band formed in 2017 in Brighton, England, composed of five versatile musicians. Lead vocalist and drummer Ollie Judge, guitarists Louis Borlase and Anton Pearson, bassist/horn player Laurie Nankivell, and keyboardist/cellist Arthur Leadbetter began playing as music students and remained as a band beyond their school years. Squid released a debut EP, Town Centre, in 2019 and a debut album, Bright Green Field, on May 7, 2021.

At the Music Hall of Williamsburg, Judge and his drum kit were front and center, with the four other musicians flanking from both sides of him. Although the other musicians’ instrumental breaks were egalitarian, Judge’s vocals and leadership were the core of the ensemble’s performance. The musicians changed instruments and positions, but Judge’s contributions remained the hinge on which the music progressed.

Judge’s vocals sounded very much like David Byrne’s thrusting talky shouts in Talking Heads. That was where the comforting familiarity ended. Like a prog-rock band, many of the song parts were slippery, shape-shifting suites laced together as interconnected movements. The composite structure of many songs transitioned from ambient sounds to total thrash.  Frequently, songs ventured outwards from a friendly, propulsive groove. Some evolved into fractured chaos, like a Sun Ra composition, others to punk-inspired headbangers that launched mosh pits.

Oblique metaphoric lyrics, many cryptically articulating a crippling human anxiety or a bleak dystopian worldview, made the dark room feel even darker. Then the vocals stopped and waves of white noise allowed the listener to recollect the senses. Even the stillest moments seemed to have a foreboding spirit.

Squid’s experimental and expansive textures alternated between jittering the audience’s heads and bodies. The quintet successfully pushed exploratory boundaries even further. The tense and tumultuous moments nibbled at levels of discomfort, but the daring innovation Squid brought to the rock playing field was commendable.

Photo by Everynight Charley


  • Intro/Nines
  • Peel St.
  • Fugue
  • Paddling
  • Sludge
  • Boy Racers
  • Sevens
  • Documentary Filmmaker
  • Interlude
  • G.S.K.
  • Narrator
  • Pamphlets
Photo by Everynight Charley