Liberated Squid, the brainchild of Mike Baxter and a studio project up until now, the intent is clear from track one of this mash up. As an amalgamation of the band’s two EPs, this is a nine-song lesson in DIY, new millennium punk, telling us what punk means now, its execution echoing the decades gone before.
The stated influence of the Ramones is obvious, but I hear others, perhaps, more English influences from the likes of the Ruts and the Undertones. There are a few genuine pop moments, but for the most part this is all about kicking you and calling you bad names while you’re down.
Hailing from Tauranga, Liberated Squid are getting on with things in what seems to be almost total isolation. This isolation is most evident in the closing track TMS in which the band slams the local music scene in a merciless fashion. Lyrically there is a tendency to jump on a cliché and then sandwich it with something interesting, which I found annoying.
The music on the other hand is standard three chords, done with a surprising vitality and interspersed with some great arrangement ideas. A testament to the home studio, Liberated Squid have made something that as well as being fun to listen to, sounds great. Baxter built all the drum parts himself in Garageband and mastered on Audio Master. This is an easy album to like, there is humour, well-constructed tunes and an underlying anger that every good punk record needs.