BY FRED MILLS
Gonna tell ya about Texas radio and the bayou beat. The inelegantly—but perfectly—named Bipolaroid hails from Louisiana, but rather than any musical Cajun cookin’ going on here with their fourth full-length (and first for garage maven Get Hip), they stir up some serious sonic shit on the order of the Red Krayola and the 13th Floor Elevators. In fact, it’s extremely likely that at least a couple of the members’ parents sustained lysergen-induced chromosome damage back in the ‘60s or ‘70s, ‘cos there’s no way a normal kid could come up with such twisted epistles as the thick-tongued undulations of “Let It Bling” and the Moody Blues-on-Quaaludes cosmic skree of “Ave, Quixote”; or the lo-fi likes of garage stomper “Efflorescent Adolescent” and the jangles ‘n’ harmonies “O, Hallelujah,” tunes so paleolithically primitive that they would’ve been rejected outright by the compilers of both Nuggets AND the Pebbles series. We’re not talking finesse.
What we are yappin’ about, though, is how instinctive this band is, and how mesmerizing Twin Language becomes, once your ears adjust to the din and the truncated frequency range. There’s something downright baroque about the way Bipolaroid can arrange a straightforward pretty pop song—say, the Kinks-meets-Who Brit Invasion “Merry Xmas” (vocalist Ben Glover is a dead ringer in places for Ray Davies, and the song itself recalls “A Quick One While He’s Away”)—while injecting it with enough toxins to make it lurch like a zombie. Elsewhere the fuzz-and-tremolo garage/psych aesthetic holds powerful sway, as in the magnificently anthemic “Get Off My Fence,” yet even that is rendered just off-kilter enough to suggest that the musicians are playing three different songs at once and they just happened to get lucky that they were all in the same key! Oh, did I mention that they figured out how to rewrite “Arnold Layne”—here, the jaw-dropping “Where’s The Spring”—while still sounding utterly unique? Somebody call Pink Floyd’s lawyers, pronto!
As with those Lone Star icons namechecked in the first para, above, Bipolaroid isn’t particularly interested in niceties and formalities. Rather, their idea of a ripping good time is to punish a song until it cracks open and reveals its innards, like taking a claw hammer to the front of an antique grandfather clock. It’s brutal, yet pristine, a beautiful mess that will leave you gasping. Make sure you bring an extra oxygen tank before cueing it up.
DOWNLOAD: “Where’s the Spring,” “Merry Xmas,” “Get Off My Fence”