To say that Squid the Whale is a buzz band right now might be an understatement. There isn’t a quick way to sum up all the intricacies that make up this rock band from Michigan. Like many, with all the discussion among the underground rock community, I am starting with their pay-what-you-want new release Four More to see what all the hubbub is about.
Four More is not the first time I’ve heard the band. The first time was actually at the intimate Columbus venue at a show they co-headlined with Ohioans The Orphan, The Poet. It was at this show that I first heard EP opener “Bad Man.” What the live show did not offer (for obvious reasons) is the epic Gospel choir-like lead in to a track that showcases everything that is alluring about this band – spot on tenor vocals laden with emotion, tight musicianship, and music that rocks. The scratching in the background of “Drown Part II” makes one think that a vinyl album is playing, rather than a digital file on your computer (in my case). The rock is nearly stripped away in this song, leaving just a piano-driven ballad that shows off the versatility of Bradley Walden’s soulful vocals. The whimsically titled “How Do I Show These Cowboys I’m Alive” will have long time followers of the scene rejoicing with the guest vocals of Nic Newsham of Gatsby’s American Dream. The track has funk groove that serves as the undercurrent to a straightforward rock sound. “Warden Sings the Blues” ends things in a mellow way, albeit not quite in ballad territory. As the song’s signature riff (which poses a bit of proverbial question) fades away you’ll find yourself wanting more of this band.
This EP is genius marketing. Now I’m hooked. My only complaint is that the EP doesn’t feel complete – but it isn’t meant to be. It’s just “Four More” great tunes from a great band meant to tide you over until the next release, which I hope is soon.