Hobbled by some truly poor production (Minor Threat’s Complete Discography sounds like award-winning work next to this), Complicated Shirt mess their way through ten songs of riotous, snotty, yet cleverly obnoxious garage rock that comes away sounding like The White Stripes and The Strokes liquored up on 120 proof. While not exactly musically sound (rather straight forward, no nonsense barrage of shrill guitars), they do possess a keen eye for lyrical potency, as demonstrated in the album’s opening track “Pitch Doctor Slogan.” In it, vocalist Drew Benton muses in all his satirical glory the shallow practice of many modern rock star hopefuls; “you don’t fucking care that you’re ruining music / as long everybody’s eyes and ears are on you / here, dress up like a deer and I’ll go get Ted Nugent.”
Much of the album’s caustic nature becomes its strongest point- it’s a rough and tumble look at the world through Benton’s angry eyes. He’s not one to hold back on the vitriol either; lining up a host of problems to spit on with his rather capable vocabulary. Much like the music, Benton coughs up almost every word through what one would presume are smoked-filled lungs; but it really only adds to the wicked urgency felt through the songs. In “Rotary Rosary,” the machine gun commentary is fired with reckless abandon- reaching its apex with the song’s potent couplet; “when life is imposing and nobody cares / the rotary rosary will answer your prayers.”
The one thing that currently holds them back is the woeful production values (so much so that it’s more a detriment to the commentary than an advantage); and it really does make them sound like shit. But while Complicated Shirt lack creative musical dexterity, they make up a lot of ground with their venomous lyrical review- proving once again that sometimes all you need is a little bit attitude.