A Haunted Tongue is the third album by Colossal Squid, AKA Adam Betts, the producer and drummer extraordinaire, and it’s a monolithic release that puts beats front and centre.
It opens with ‘Park’ which is as energising as having like a bucket of cold water thrown over you when you’re asleep. It bursts off the album writhing and pulsating, with propulsive beats keeping the track aloft, and electronically treated sounds that could be an alien battle cry rallying the other tracks on the album.
Such is the speed and dexterity of Adam Bett’s playing it’s sometimes hard to tell where arpeggios end and drums begin. You get the urgent polyrhythms of ‘Fewston’, the light staccato touch of ‘January’, ‘Textured’ and ‘A Haunted Tongue’ both bristling with the brooding menace of drums circling a blackhole, ‘Noise Box’ which scatters beats in deep uncharted caverns, a night-time sprint through dark streets on ‘Blackfriars Nightmare’ (which comes off like a modern take on a Lalo Schifrin score), and finally the neon-lit monorail of ‘A Token of My Gratitude’.
This is music that embraces drum and bass, big beat and the positive energy of the dancefloor. There are so many great sounds on this album – electronic badinage that is woven in and out of the rhythms – but there’s no doubting that it’s the drums that make everything shine. It’s urgent and exciting and it amazes me that, although the playing has a surgical precision, it also manages to sound loose. This is a rave in a cathedral where you’re dancing between a hailstorm and lightning. If Adam Betts was the drummer setting the oar speed on a Viking ship, then they wouldn’t just hit the coastline they would keep going several miles inland.
A Haunted Tongue is an uplifting album, a lightspeed love affair with our primal response to the beat of a drum and if you still suspect these rhythms could only have been produced by a computer then watch the live video below for the title track ‘A Haunted Tongue’. Also see below for the Colossal Squid tour dates.
As an aside I would encourage Adam Betts/Colossal Squid to put on a show with master-of-the-drop AK/DK although I fear I could burn through a pair of trainer trying to keep up with the beats.
March 28TH – Glasgow – Hug and Pint
March 29th – Manchester – The White Hotel
March 31st – Newcastle – Lubber Fiend
April 7th – Margate – Elsewhere
April 14th – Brighton – Green Door Store
April 15th – Bristol – Crofters
April 16th – Leeds – Brudenell
April 18th – London – The Social
Review by Paul F Cook