A Haunted Tongue by Colossal SquidRelease date: February 17, 2023
Label: Wrong Speed Records
Colossal Squid (Adam Betts) returns with their third long-player. We’ve not heard anything from Colossal Squid since 2019’s Swungert, not that Betts has been idle, in our house we play Spot The Betts when the BBC Proms are on as he’s usually in one or other of the modern ensembles which now regularly appear at this most traditional of music events (you may also have spotted him recently in Jarvis Cocker’s band).
A Haunted Tongue is a glitchy and groovesome treat, very reminiscent of old Warp mixes but put through a punky filter which crosses over a number of different genres. The eight tracks presented here hark back to a past of illegal raves in warehouses (or up the side of a South Wales valley if you’re me), but without sounding retro or pickled in time – Betts also keeps one foot firmly in the now – marrying his broad sense of experimentalism to pulsating ecstatic polyrhythms.
The traditionally garish Colossal Squid cover lets you know what you’re in for – colour, intensity, over the top maximalism – all driven by Bett’s superlative drumming. Don’t judge a book by its cover though – sling it on the long-format music listening device of your choice and immerse yourself in these eight classic bangers. I mentioned Warp – and indeed there’s a lot of post intelligent dance music groove here, but it also draws on international music – Nubian drumming and Indonesian gabba are highlighted – also a lot of tonal and pace changes to keep the Math Rock crowd waving their artisanal sourdough pretzels in the air like they just don’t care – You’ll hear these in DJ mixes all this summer. Shake your booty.
If anything, it’s too short, but it’s great to get some Colossal Squid on the turntable again, now we just have to nag Betts about new Three Trapped Tigers material….