July 31, 2006
BY DAVID TERRELL
After a lengthy absence, local rock group Bipolaroid returned to the fold Monday night at the Circle Bar. Thanks to the busy, octopus-like Keith Moon drumming of new addition Joe Adragna, their sound was more rockin' and a little heavier than usual. In the past, if my memory serves me well, the band would lead the audience into their psychedelic trip with a soft leading hand. Now, with the band's cacophony, the journey is much more direct and forceful. Don't get me wrong, though. I like it and respect it and appreciate it. Seems like it'd be difficult to keep time and keep the music in check when the whole point is to make it seem like all the instruments are melding and there is no pulse, just mesh.
A constant part of the band and a reason that Bipolaroid songs are great and not just good is their lead guitarist Brian Rueb, who seems like an idiot savant. I've seen it in local pedal steel virtuoso Dave Easley, as well. It's these guys who seem to be off in their own little world, but when the song starts and it comes time, they deliver some of the most beautiful playing you'll ever hear. It's like they can patch into this flow that no one else can reach. Rueb made it look real easy to be so lyrical, too.
I used to be down on vocalist/songwriter Ben Glover's mumbled delivery. I thought what he was doing was cold and calculated because he wasn't singing straight, but I was wrong. Ben's gurgled speak is perfect for the floatiness of the music. If he was pronouncing everything sharply, it wouldn't work. The only problem with this? For a second I didn't notice when Glover dropped out of the mix. Turn that mic ALL the way up.
Hats off to bassist DC Harbold. He's such an important part of Bipolaroid and any band he's in. He always looks like he's having fun, he's professional, and he's generous. He guided Adragna through some rough patches with a smile on his face. As they moved through some difficult parts together, their comraderie grew and that positive energy spilled over into the concert, making the performance that much more enjoyable.
For the first time it seems like Bipolaroid has the tools to do what they want. Glover has a batch of new songs and a backing band that can deliver live.