Rising U.K. rock quintet Squid have shared the second single from their much-anticipated debut album Bright Green Field, out May 7 on Warp Records. The band has also announced an online performance as part of SXSW’s official British Music Embassy showcase, streaming this Friday, March 19, at 7 p.m. ET.
A longtime staple of Squid’s live show, “Paddling” opens on Laurie Nankivell’s low-key drum-machine loop and slowly, steadily—and then suddenly—ratchets up into a psych-motorik rave-up. Guitarists Anton Pearson and Louis Borlase, and drummer Ollie Judge all trade off on vocals, as if to reinforce the song’s topsy-turvy world (“There are people, there are people inside / And they’re changing in shape and in size”), while Arthur Leadbetter’s delirious synths push the song to a fever pitch until it breaks. As its title suggests, “Paddling” is exhilaratingly unmoored, never staying put long enough to be pinned down.
“Written from two different perspectives, ‘Paddling’ is a song about the dichotomy between simple pleasures and decadent consumerism,” Squid explain in a statement. “Recounting a familiar scene from The Wind in the Willows, the song reminds us that although we are humans, we are ultimately animals that are driven by both modern and primal instincts, leading to vanity and machismo around us in the everyday.”
We’ve been following Squid closely to this point, ranking their debut 2019 EP Town Centre among that year’s best, highlighting them as a new British band of note this time last year, and tapping their last two tracks, “Sludge” and “Narrator” (feat. Martha Skye Murphy), as some of the best songs of March 2020 and January 2021, respectively. Their latest single certainly won’t buck that trend.
Listen to “Paddling” below.