The Bloody Lips - B-Side Noise (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Bloody Lips

B-Side Noise (2017)

Independent Fries

The comparison is inevitable. Two guys from the now defunct Lippies form a new female fronted band called The Bloody Lips. (At their first show, one of the other bands jokingly referred to them as The Blood Lippies.) Beyond the obvious, the two groups really have very little in common. This is certainly not a case of a band replacing their singer, slightly changing their name and moving on. The Bloody Lips are a completely different animal. They don’t seem at all interested in rehashing the gender politics of The Lippies. There’s also no catchy, mid-tempo pop-punk, only equally catchy but much faster punk and hardcore.

The Bloody Lips are a Grand Rapids, MI based band and are partially made up of Lawrence Kole on guitar and Taylor Shupe on bass, trading roles from their time with The Lippies. The two have remained close and are working on a couple different projects together. They are joined by the husband and wife team of Josh and Krystal Stacey. Josh is the drummer and also drums for The War Between with Colin Clive from Mustard Plug. This is Krystal’s first significant musical endeavor, but you’d never know it from her confident vocal delivery. They originally intended to be a Minor Threat cover band until they started writing their own material.

If there’s a common theme among the songs that make up B-Side Noise, it’s anger. Or maybe it’s just the antisocial desire to be left alone. Krystal’s hostile delivery really pushes the vocals into the red. It’s a controlled hostility that never devolves into a total scream or shriek, but she’s definitely mad about stuff. The 51 second opener “Fisted Sister” might have you leaping to conclusions as to who it’s about, but it remains slightly ambiguous. The repeated lyric “Everybody’s going to forget you” certainly feels very personal. The closest thing to a pop song, and it’s not really very close, is the almost title track. “Noise!” is the bounciest and most optimistic tune on the album, and could probably serve as BL’s mission statement.

Mustard Plug casts a big shadow in Grand Rapids, and their influence can be felt here. “Too Late For You” and “Panic!” would both qualify as ska songs, albeit very aggressive ones. Kole’s guitar tone might remind you of Greg Ginn’s, and most of the tracks are very fast. “Arrogance”, “Opinions” and “Josh Is Losing Faith In Humanity” are relentless, angry blasts. On “Lies”, the bass line jumps right out of the mix. It also has a backwards sample that will torture you as you try to figure out what it is. The best songs on the record are the ones where Kole pitches in on vocals. “You Think” and “Abandon Me” are the perfect marriage of rage and tunefulness.

Both The Bloody Lips as a band and B-Side Noise as a record came together pretty quickly. It has a good tension and a nervous energy to it. It feels instinctual, unforced and not overly thought out. The album’s 10 songs fly by in just over 16 minutes and gives you no chance to catch your breath. The recording quality is good, but it still manages to be raw sounding. Overly slick production wouldn’t have served this well. To recap:B-Side Noise is an excellent debut from The Bloody Lips. Also to recap:If you’re expecting The Lippies 2.0, this is going to be like an unwelcome punch in the face. If you’re into that kind of thing, you’ll love this.