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Compromising Compositions

Complicated Shirt

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Album Review

If Complicated Shirt's first album sounded like a new millennium updating of the somewhat artsier end of the old American indie scene, with hints of early Dinosaur Jr and Mission of Burma, the follow-up, Compromising Compositions, seems to be going for a full-on art rock effect that, no kidding, sounds like a modern-day indie rock take on willfully fractured '70s acts like Slapp Happy and the Red Krayola. The band's punk roots are largely sublimated here, showing up only in Drew Benton's rough, strangled vocals. The songs, which are mostly in the 90- to 150-second range, vary from the oddly pretty, semi-Baroque "The Thawing Neck" and the pipe-organ-based rant "Bad Plumbing Beneath a Spilled Philter," which both recall Uncle Meat-era Frank Zappa, to full-on tributes to the Red Krayola's special blend of clashing rhythms and spastic, hectoring vocals on "Resilient" and "Rickets." Best of the bunch: "Seasonal Affective Disorder," the closest the album gets to what the average person would consider a pop song, without losing Complicated Shirt's urge to make things, well, complicated.

Biography

Formed: Albany, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Complicated Shirt formed in the early 2000s with guitarist Drew Benton, drummer Jonathan Pellerin, and bassist Keith Sonin. Wielding an intelligent, angular garage punk sound similar to Dinosaur Jr., the group released its first full-length, Strigine, in 2004. Sonin left the band soon after the album came out; he was replaced by Jason Jette in 2005. Complicated...
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Compromising Compositions, Complicated Shirt
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