Already Dead Tapes
Released Jan 6, 2017
Here we have a two piece noise punk band from St Louis that had the opportunity to record a tape in a German laundromat. The outcome is pretty much exactly what you would expect, Floodplain is loud, messy and exciting. This band used to be called Spelling Bee and their experience is obvious. Over the course of eight tracks, Complainer does everything a two piece can do except for letting up.
Before we get into the music let me take a minute to speak on the packaging here. Already Dead does a bang up job on their tapes and this one is no exception. It's a pro quality clear tape with printed ink on both sides and j card insert printed on both sides. The artwork (see above) is amazing. If you are a cassette fan this is definitely worth picking up.
What comprises Complainer’s sound? Well… you have Mabel Suen yelping and screaming while riffing up and down the neck of her guitar. At the same time, Joe Hess pounds around his drums like he’s playing rhythmic whack a mole. It’s a little bit Lightning Bolt mixed with bits and pieces of Holly Hunt, a smidge of The Sick Lipstick, occasional Crucial Taunt style vocals and drums that sound like By the End of Tonight. I personally find the moments where Complainer sounds like Holly Hunt’s little bratty sibling to be the most exciting (see the intro to “Guts” and the end of “Busybody”) but those moments are not the norm. For the most part, Complainer just rocks out and has a fun time.
If I had to complain about something on Floodplain, it’s the production style. It's on par with an early CRASS record or something like that. Everything is played crisply and it’s obvious that this sound is intentionally cultivated. The live feel of this record definitely adds to its energy but there are moments it grates on me.
Complainer’s Floodplain is something to be ingested and enjoyed. This record is not going to be for everyone, don’t expect to find it topping Billboard charts anytime soon. For those who find the classic punk production to be something they enjoy will find Floodplain to be right up their alley. This is a fun quick listen and definitely something that would be awesome to see live. Like the aftermath of a flood, there is always something to find in Complainer’s wake.
Reviewed by: Rob 1340