Polar Bears In Purgatory

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March 15, 2014 by Craig McAllister

There was on old advert in the 80s for Kit-Kat. In it, a hopeful young band sat around a couch in an expensive-looking office as a record company big-wig listened stony-faced to their demo tape. As the track played to an end, he turned to the youthful foursome and offered his opinion. “You can’t sing, you can’t play, you look awful…..you’ll go a long way!

I’d like to add another criteria to that big-wig’s list of essential criteria – the band name.

It was Michael Stipe who once said that R.E.M. looked good in lights. Simple and short, three sharp mono-syllables abbreviated so as not to rhyme with ‘them‘. R.E.M. was enigmatic, people couldn’t make assumptions about the band or their music based on the name and it was short enough to look good on record sleeves. “When choosing a band name,” he advised, “think about how big you want to make it. Will your name look good on your record sleeve or above the door of the venue?


And so we come to Polar Bears In Purgatory

You know what you’re getting with AC/DC or Metallica or The Overlords Of Destruction. But not Polar Bears In Purgatory. But don’t let the name put you off.

PBIP (as they shall now be known) take their cue from the shouty, melodic side of skateboard punk – think Suicidal Tendencies with the pop sensibilities of Busted. Really! A ramalama of chugging, stop/start riffs, ping-ponging multi-vocals and tumbling toms, they have a handful of well-crafted songs, choc-full of backing vocals and catchy bits that regularly fall below the all-important two and a half minute mark. Live, there’ll no doubt be a swirling moshpit, jostling boys with chains hanging off of jeans that are hanging off of backsides and pogoing from the bass player. The bass player always pogos, right?

PBIP can sing, they can play, they don’t look that awful……and there’s every chance they’ll go a long way….

…if only they’d cut out the terrible, terrible language. Wash yer mouths out, boys! And cover your ears, listener, if you’re under 18. Tut tut…


See what we mean? Big fans of Brand New (look them up, over 30s), PBIP helpfully describe their sound as Tony Iommi playing Beach Boys songs at twice the speed (look them up, under 30s). This tells you all you need to know – in short PBIP are all about melody and speed.



With songs like I Got My Tongue Pierced, It’s Not Over and Supernova, PBIP have created a nice little niche in the local band market. Not too heavy, not too wimpy, not taking themselves too seriously (see video below). If Green Day had grown up in the Land O’ Burns rather than grown up in the land o’ sunburn, they too might’ve sounded a bit like PBIP.

You can find out more about PBIP here:

Facebook  //  BandCamp  //  Twitter

Playing alongside Closer and The Tripps, Polar Bears In Purgatory will be bringing their pogoing punk/pop anthems to the HAC this Friday, 21st March at 7.30 pm. A swear box will be available at the door, with all moneys received from the band going to local charity.

It’s only a fiver to get in! Don’t you dare miss it now!


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