Blisterpak ‘Problematic’ E.P. review by Stephen Watt
Hightailing from some lawless, undiscovered solar system, Scottish art-punk outfit Blisterpak crash-landed somewhere in Glasgow on the same day that the role of Prime Minister was fulfilled by another extraterrestrial at 10 Downing Street.
There was never any doubt that debut EP “Problematic” would be anything other than the opposite of a soft rock ballad mixtape crooning to Theresa May. Spikey opener Won’t Somebody Please Think of the Children? is as far removed from the rhetoric frequently pleaded by The Simpsons’ Maude Flanders, challenging the safe spaces within which people box themselves and instead invites confrontation in the form of frontman Adam V Cheshire’s snarling poetics. Wonky guitars and backing vocals from Ki Murphy leads a highly tongue-in-cheek march into prescribed limits, violating generic bystanders to “think of the children – but not too much”.
Equally efficient in its acid-tongued mocking is the quite fantastic Hate The Gaze. Debuted in The Blue Chair on High Street in January 2016, this bright outlook at patriarchy is dissected into two parts – the filthy punk and choppy music segment with its “I hate the gaze, I hate the male gaze” indoctrinate which initially implies a crude homophobic sentiment, until the band literally spells it out “G-A-ZE” – and latterly Cheshire’s profound spoken word segment which considers Hollywood’s female protagonists being sexualised for the purpose of the male psyche. In a month when this issue has sparked vast discussions across social networking sites concerning the new all-female cast in the new Ghostbusters film, it simply highlighted the contemporary stylings of a band very much with its finger on the pulse.
Only final track Hey Susan leaves the listener discombobulated with a bittersweet ode, albeit wrapped up in a quixotic vein. Slower than its predecessors, perhaps most interestingly is the band’s ability to prong a horned instrument into the heart of what appears to be a more traditional folk-type song, and vocals which, snarling aside, dipped a more honeyed-sound alike to Kele Okereke from Bloc Party.
There was more than enough to prick listener’s curiosity in this three-track record. Also, the social commentary applied alongside garage sounds suggest that an exciting music shift within the Scottish spoken word scene is beginning to gain momentum in various styles and genres – from the recently-formed poetry-rap courtesy of former Hector Bizerk MC Louie and the Lochbacks (alongside members of Be Charlotte and Pronto Mama), to the live spectacle of the Loud Poets show courtesy of backing band Ekobirds, and now the punk-poetry sounds produced by Blisterpak. At this rate, techno-poetry should be around by Christmas.
Review by Stephen Watt, July, 2016
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