by Dan Goldin (@post_trash_)
Earlier this year St. Louis' Complainer released Floodplain, their hyper-kinetic full length debut of spastic and damaged noise rock. It was an explosive re-introduction to the duo of Mabel Suen (guitar/vocals/saxophone) and Joe Hess (drums), once known as Spelling Bee, and their relentless art punk fury. Though the end of the year soon approaches, Complainer aren't done with 2017 just yet as we welcome Pure Vanilla, a new five track EP that really captures the band's raw intensity. Released today on Bandcamp, the blistering record is available as a "name your price" download, a point that was important to the duo with this record and the freedom experienced while recording it. The band went in, ripped it live (with minimal overdubs) as only they can, and are eager to share it... simple enough.
Pure Vanilla tears past in just over 10 minutes, a quick get in, get out, and leave nothing but rubble in their wake kind of approach. From the pummeling dirge of "Pure" to the final sprawl of feverish distortion on "Lip Service," the duo's relentless clamor only pauses for momentary gasps of air. "Cardboard" is full of big ugly fuzz and a cascade of thick rhythms, burrowing itself into an earthquaking groove as Suen's punchy melodies fight to stay above water. It's a visceral kick to the teeth on a record full of them. "Fucking Droid" peels things back ever so slightly, relying more on volatile tension than aggression, but the band eventual dive into their signature detached chaos. "Vanilla," the EP's lone instrumental, nearly has a Western twang to it, rumbling along with a false sense of security. Suen's saxophone squalls are pitted against Hess' brutal fills and spastic shifts, this time taking a jazzier approach to the menacing noise at hand. Pure Vanilla is a wild ten minutes, just in time for the holidays. Grandma may never be the same.