Oh look, thinks the newcomer, another scratchy, post-punk-y band releasing through Dischord. I’ve got a Q and not U record already, thanks. Wrong. Washington, DC’s Bluetip might well have the sharp guitars of so much jagged-edge rock circulating at the turn of the millennium, from the stateside underground upwards, but the Jason Farrell-fronted four-piece had something of equal importance, which ultimately makes Polymer the brilliant album that it remains to this day: swing, baby, swing. Wheras other bands were deploying their razor-blade riffing with bubbling funk bass and cowbell percussion, Bluetip’s M.O. was a rather more under-the-radar manner of physical coercion; their slinky guitar lines and snapping drums were tippy-toe-tapping in their skittering classiness. They could be the last band at the last Under the Sea dance at the end of time; you and your best girl, you’ll meet your maker with a broad, beaming smile. Half a world away from the sweaty moshes of so many hardcore shows, this outfit were always brighter, always bolder, than so many contemporaries. A shame, then, that Polymer would be their final album. Farrell would go on to front Retisonic, but they never produced anything as box-tickingly brilliant as this set, which packs in several memorable (and graphic) vocal hooks – “chipped your teeth now your smile looks serrated” (New Shoe Premonition); “Walking around with dimes in my eyes” (Astigmatic) – between music that’s both muscular yet lean, taut yet flexible. It welcomes the listener and allows them to take everything in on their terms, never forcing the issue. In another universe, Bluetip are where the Foo Fighters are, and this is their …Nothing Left to Lose upper-stratosphere breakthrough. The artwork’s cool as, too, Farrell making the most out of jewel case limitations with a cleverly cut design.
For fans of: Rival Schools, Gang of Four, Foo Fighters
Download: New Shoe Premonition, Polymer, Don’t Punch Your Friend (For Being Slow)
Bluetip – Astigmatic
Bluetip – New Shoe Premonition