Spud Cannon release Sophmore Effort ‘Squeeze’

A delicate bass is just itching to pummel us as we enter “Try for a While,” the smoking first track of Spud Cannon’s sophomore album Squeeze. Slowly the song blossoms into an inspiring, patient exercise in minimalism and melody, swinging in cadence with vocalist Meg Matthews’ slick poetry. We descend into the new wave thunder of “Runaway Strays” and quickly become trapped in its claustrophobic grooves, which close in on us within thirty seconds and push us into the verses with an uncompromising stomp. Matthews spews fragile words over an elastic ocean of magnified sonic discord, never flinching even as the instrumentation behind her takes on the shape of a hurricane bent on carnage. “The Lucky Ones” comes sliding out with a funky beat and before we know it that threatening superstorm has evolved into a danceable rhythm that we just can’t resist.

I-TUNES: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/squeeze/1442130462

The haunting “February” slows down the pace of Squeeze for a moment before giving way to Spud Cannon’s swaggering cover of “Funky Town” and the jangle rocker “Tag.” “Tag” has the look and feel of a Replacements song penetrated by a pointed contemporary urban sway that is steeped in urgency. Even though this album features more twists and turns than a thrilling theme park ride, the substance of the content never feels fragmented or scattered. Squeeze is inarguably more experimental and hard edged than Next Time Read the Fine Print, but it would be more than difficult to make the case that its production isn’t a lot more focused and evenly matched with the disciplined execution of the music.

At three minutes and change, “Taken for Granted” is actually one of the longer songs on the album. Spud Cannon utilize every second of the track and fill even the minutest of spaces with an effervescence that is mesmerizing and borders on psychedelic territory. The rousing beat keeps the formlessness of the arrangement from going straight off the rails and into droning ambient territory, but in the shadow of “The Boogie Man” this song feels like one of the zanier numbers on the LP. “The Boogie Man” flirts with surf rock but stays true to the neon glow of the other riffage we find on Squeeze, and though it runs half the time that “Taken for Granted” does, it hardly skimps on musicality.

Squeeze comes to a conclusion with “Shadows You Turn To,” which employs a furious tempo but boasts a proto-goth melancholy in the vocal track that is possibly the most moving moment of the entire record. Speaking from personal experience, once you start listening to this album it becomes ridiculously challenging to stop, as each one of these songs bleeds into the next even when played on shuffle. Squeeze is cohesive yet unbelievably diverse, giving us an up close and personal look at the sumptuous tonality of a band that has yet to receive the attention that a lot of underground critics have deemed them worthy of for some time now. This LP is a watershed moment for Spud Cannon, and moreover an epic release in a recording season that has yet to disappoint.

BANDCAMP: https://spudcannon.bandcamp.com/album/squeeze

Gwen Waggoner