New York indie rock juggernaut Spud Cannon deliver a high energy smorgasbord of noise pop destruction in their all new album Squeeze, which despite running under a half hour is chock full of vibrant melodies, vicious grooves and hooks that even the most discriminating of music fans won’t soon forget. Spud Cannon capitalize on the expansive style of play they introduced us to with Next Time Read the Fine Print in Squeeze, injecting rigid arrangements with ascending harmonies that spill into each other and smother us in a thick sonic blanket. Whether you’ve been following their story from the beginning or are just discovering their sound for the first time, this LP is more than worth acquiring this winter.
Spud Cannon have developed their songwriting prowess a lot in the last year and dispense some very cerebral tunes in “Runaway Strays,” “February” and the sizzling “Tag.” The production quality is simply superb, and you can tell that the band spent a lot of time refining every detail in these tracks to perfection before ever clearing them for release. As a whole Squeeze is very bass-heavy, but it’s got defined lines thanks to the gritty treble that reverberates from the harsh percussion. The contrast is gorgeous to put it mildly and easily just as much of a draw as the music itself is.
“Try for a While” and “The Boogie Man” have traces of math rock in their rhythm but tend to favor more of a Sonic Youth-style abrasiveness as opposed to really exploring the grind of their gears. I love the way that Spud Cannon juxtapose tender melodies with prickly beats and unforgiving equalization, and no matter how they manipulate these songs the results end up being spot on almost every time. Their punky cover of “Funky Town” might start off a little stock, but once the band gets into the meat and potatoes of the track it’s like we’re hearing the song for the first time.
You could spend hours poring over Squeeze’s most subtle intricacies. I found myself really appreciating the depth of songs like “Taken for Granted,” “Lucky Ones” and the deceptively plain “Shadows You Turn To” after repeat listens, and though this is far from a concept album I think that the fluidity of the content makes it really easy to consistently play from start to finish without interruption. It’s more or less an indie rock aficionados’ dream come true, and my gut tells me that a lot of Spud Cannon’s peers will try to replicate the hollow nature of this mix in hopes of yielding a similar sound.
There’s been no shortage of amazing music to come out of 2018, but Squeeze’s combination of ultra-physical punk rock, stately pop melodies and supple eclecticism is on another level of excellence altogether. It’s short, sweet and leaves the sort of impression that few albums in the modern rock era are capable of producing, all while maintaining Spud Cannon’s DIY ethos. Here they prove that you don’t have to sacrifice relentlessly volatile tonality to make an accessible album in the contemporary pop lexicon, and that’s really something to be celebrated.