By Greg Toumassian
OlFactory Records latest release, “Abstract Distractions,” puts
Bipolar Bear and Talbot Tagora on 10 inches of vinyl, swallowed in
reverb and shards of grinded delay for the noise pop fan in all of
Bipolar Bear opens the A-side of the split, and in five tracks
puts the old and tired “angular punk” cliche ” that still seems to
be flooding every review about the Los Angeles three-piece ” to
Kaleidoscope post-punk is born with the opening track “Cape
Verde.” Complex symmetric musical patterns shift from one phrase to
another, as delayed guitars and distorted vocals borderline
The third track on the split, “Library,” opens with guitarist
Paul Knee picking away at a million notes a minute as pounding bass
and smash up drumming solidify the track as one of the most intense
cuts on the album.
The bridge that leads up to the second chorus halts the buzz saw
guitar in mid air, while a second guitar seems to count down to the
final explosive resolve that ends with Knee repeating “all is
bearing down on me” as a musical meltdown closes the piece.
Knee takes a few jabs at the band when revealing the reason that
Bipolar Bear chose to do the collaborative album.
“Mainly we try to do splits because other bands are much better
to listen to than just us,” said Knee.
Released on vinyl record with a free digital download of the
album, Knee said that the choice of format for “Abstract
Distractions” was an easy one.
“Some kid at The Smell told me vinyl was way more radical. I
personally have a lot of respect in my heart for that which is
rad,” said Knee. “Then this other kid was like ‘CD’s are whack
dog,’ and I was like, ‘OK’.”
The B-side of “Abstract Distractions” brings dystopian pop to
fruition with Seattle’s Talbot Tagora’s first track “Internet
Distorted and heavily delayed guitar mixes with primal drums and
an underlying bass line that fills up the sonic registers.
Reverb and blown-out vocals help to push the tone of the
two-minute track into post apocalyptic territory.
The track, punctuated with a catchy pop undertone, is by far the
most addictive on the B-side and quite possibly the entire
“Black Diamond” approaches with the same fervor, only with a
more melodic intent. The opening chords begin to pound away to a
mid tempo drone that dominates the rest of the song.
The audible space left between each static smash is quickly
filled with slapback echo and heavily distorted vocals.
As dissonant as the album may get, the underlying theme always
relates back to first-class songs with even better execution.
From side A to side B, the fluidity of the transition from
Bipolar Bear to Talbot Tagora is flawless.
Mixed with an unpolished presentation and raw energy, the split
almost feels like it was recorded live.
“Abstract Distractions” is 22 minutes well spent. Covering more
ground in nine tracks than most full length LPs could only dream
of, the OlFactory release is a solid sampling of the indefinable
sound of punk to come.
Reach Greg Toumassian at firstname.lastname@example.org
Courtesy of Ol?Factory Records
Abstract distractions’ blurs the lines
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