‘You’re a constant disappointment to yourself’ sing Squidge on new single ‘Sad Sack’. It’s one of 2023’s greyer lyrics. It would be a bleak song altogether were it not for the song’s scintilla of hope, even if that hopefulness is hard to find.
Bristolians Squidge are a familiar band within the South West’s live circuit. Musically, the influences are broad. Borrowing most notably from shoegaze and post-hardcore, as well as the fundamentals of indie rock, there’s a pleasing lack of obstinance to Squidge’s genre-hopping.
That’s not to say they sound undefined. There’s a clear style, but this is not cookie-cutter alt-rock, there’s far too much ambition here to call Squidge’s music a facsimile.
‘Sad Sack’ is itself something between shoegaze and post hardcore. Elements of the former are the most successful. Sprawling guitar lines sound effervescently fuzzy. It’s loud too, as alternative ‘90s-inspired rock tends to be.
The heavier elements are a nice if ever-so-slightly contrived touch. There’s no denying that the intensly shouted vocal embellishments within ‘Sad Sack’ are a great addition, but Squidge haven’t quite mastered when is and isn’t the right time to accelerate like this.
However, when lyrics are as mature as Squidge’s, it’s the most minor of quibbles. ‘Did I even try?’ they query, sounding close to broken before assuring themselves, ‘that’s ok, I’ll figure it out my own way’.
The instrumental capacity of ‘Sad Sack’ is well orchestrated but there’s nothing counterfeit about the song’s honesty, something that Squidge do well to get right so early in the band’s career.