Wonderful review of BPXmas and feature on Michael and the band in Ground Control Magazine by Daryl Darko Barnett. Excerpt followed by link to full article:
"New York’s minimalist indie rockers Bipolar Explorer are poised to release two new EPs this month: Angels, the follow-up to their celebrated double-record Of Love and Loss (Slugg Records) as well as a Christmas EP entitled BPXmas (out now digitally and as a CD on December 17). Indeed, I have it on as I write this. I’m not entirely certain what I expected but it’s kind of brilliant. And voluntarily having selected “repeat all,” I have to say it’s getting under my skin.
Christmas music. It’s a dodgy prospect. I’m not sure I can take another holiday season hearing Sir Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” as I stamp about Trader Joe’s looking for some decent French Roast. But I wouldn’t mind at all coming across BPX’s moody “Emmanuel”, haunting “In The Bleak Midwinter” or their downright raucous “The First Noel” (yeah, they went there…) in any grocery aisle. There’s even a kind of joy in their ghostly half-German, half-English cover of “Silent Night.” It may be more Joy Division than Joy to the World, but that might actually be a good thing.
BPXmas (a mash-up play on words of the band’s acronym, BPX, and that of Christmas itself) is comprised of those four traditional carols - in new arrangements ranging from moody shoegaze to jangly dreampop with a sturdy bit of the ruins of CBGB’s undergirding the lot – plus one new original composition, “It’s Christmas, Sweetheart,” penned by frontman, lead guitarist and singer, Michael Serafin-Wells.
Inevitably, The Ghosts of Christmases Past attend and inform the proceedings – like every Bipolar Explorer record, this one is dedicated to the memory of their fallen bandmate, Michael’s late-girlfriend and partner, Summer Serafin, who died in a tragic accident in 2011 at the age of 31. But somehow that very gravitas only adds to the shimmer of this collection of tracks – it anchors them, still finding the very holiday-appropriate voicing of gratitude for ever having found “a life of love, so better led”, as Serafin-Wells sings to her on “It’s Christmas, Sweetheart,” the EP’s opening track.
Interest piqued, I caught up with Michael via Skype from the band’s studio in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen…”