(Already Dead Tapes & Records)
The most recent EP from Saint Louis, Missouri’s Complainer, Pure Vanilla is a neurotic, crazed, savage, yet laser-focused ten minute auditory beat-down, with guitar tones thick and wielded like a baseball bat aimed directly at your skull and relentless, off-kilter drum patterns like a million rhythmic, heated curb stomps. Like any good assault, it’s direct, quick, effective, and adaptable with reason. “Vanilla”, Pure Vanilla’s sole instrumental track (swapping Mabel Suen’s vocals for saxophone), goes through an abundance of sensible shifts within the course of less than two and a half minutes and plays out much like an abridged noise punk jazz fusion jam band freakout with all of the unnecessary bullshit removed and serves as a perfect symbolic representation of the message of Pure Vanilla as a whole (complexity and aggression, when combined and used precisely and efficiently, are a potent force). Elsewhere, the rest of the tracklist serves as a brutally delivered manifesto in opposition to mundanity, with Suen’s lyrics and vocal delivery voraciously tearing into the bleeding heart of status quo, those who can’t think for themselves, and those who are all words and no actions. In short, it’s everything a great modern punk release should aspire to be: an invigorating attack on convention that walks its talk.
Favorite tracks: “Fucking Droid”, “Vanilla”
Rating: Strongly Recommended
You can purchase Complainer’s Pure Vanilla here.