Bluetip - 'Polymer'
I love an album title that gets you reaching for the dictionary: ‘eponymous’, ‘trompe le monde’ and now
Bluetips’ latest record Polymer adds another adjective to my shameful vocabulary. This, their third full-
length release on Dischord represents a further exploration into mellower sonic territory than previously
witnessed on their debut release and 1998s "Join Us". That’s not to say that this doesn’t Rock, but
now focus is turned towards exploring dynamic subtlety and diverse tempos with which to accompany
Jason Farrels wonderfully bruised and disillusioned lyrical intensity. ‘Polymer’ starts off proceedings in
darn fine style with Farrell plucking a familiar straining dissonant melody soon to be joined by Dave
Bryson’s tumultuous drumming and new member Brian Clancy’s striking power chords. Song no.2 ‘New
Young Residents’ further demonstrate Bluetips’ penchant for Fugazi-esque acerbic riffs and hernia
inducing vocals, Farrel sings "Woke up afraid I may not be living up to my potential/ I go to bed more
afraid that maybe I am" and it’s nice to have them back! The opening laid back bars of discordant funk on
‘Stereo Tinnitus’ offer us the first glimpse of a new musical direction for the band. The heavy drumming
and rock-steady riffology are pure Led Zeppelin, you almost expect to hear the ghost of Robert plant
screeching "It’s been a long time, been a long time been a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time!"
Farrels lyrics thankfully stay clear from any quasi-pagan interest in ‘Valhalla’ or ‘the angels of Babylon’,
choosing instead to focus on the personal as political, where emotions of jealousy, cruelty, frustration and
ultimately anger are conveyed with fiery passion and fierce intent. However, whereas on earlier albums
Farrel lyrically wallowed in a fortified cesspit of self-hatred and celebrated his role as dysfunctional
outsider, he now takes a more compromising, almost sociable outlook to life asserting that "if you got no
friends then maybe you’re not friendly" on the glorious ‘Don’t Punch your friend.’ So overall then,
Polymer represents a bold(ish) attempt to expand beyond the boundaries of a restrictive Hardcore/post-
punk genre without discarding the sound that made us love them so much in the first place. Encouraged by
the Laissez Faire approach of J.Robbins production, they succeed in producing their most complete and
musically diverse record yet and one that further maintains their status as the darling young bloods of
Dischord at the dawn of the 21st Century. Oh and by the way to save you a trip to the dictionary, Polymer:
a naturally occurring or synthetic compound, such as starch or perspex, that has large molecules made up of
many relatively simple repeated units.
Written By: Steven H.