January 6, 2017
St. Louis, MO
“Complainer has a timeless sound. The St. Louis post-punk duo (formerly known as Spelling Bee) would fit in with a giant crate of decades-old punk records. The Floodplain EP is a lo-fi haven flooded with buzz, hum and hiss. It’s constantly moving forward with haste punching out riff after riff in a freeform swirl. Vocals bounce back and forth atop a wave of hi-hats and crashes filling up 8 tracks that feel more like one longer piece. It becomes mesmerizing…soothing.
The same framework from the band’s 2012 release, Caterwaul, remains. It is not apparent who is following who or what came first, the riff or the beat, it exists as a wall of sound. Floodplain, however, feels in many ways more stripped down while also sounding fuller than previous releases. There are fewer pedals at play perhaps, but Mabel plays with more urgency, filling up space with sheer power. The immense concentration required to create a record so tightly wound passes on to the listener making for something of a catatonic experience. Floodplain is the perfect example of a “close your eyes and take it in” record moving beyond punk into atmosphere. Also, my two year old niece really dug it so big ups for that! Fun for all ages.”
-Jacob Watkins, Already Dead Tapes, 2017
Edition of 100