The first CD from the Complaints, 2000’s Fear, was reviewed 23 years ago by this writer on AllMusic.com as well as 2002’s Criminal Mind. There was the eponymous The Complaints release in 2005, and 2018’s Talk To Me among others, which I reviewed when switching gears over to TMRZoo.. Very pleased to get this 2023 new release, an 8 track 6 page foldout disc with lyrics from these intuitive and hard-working fellows.
Vocalist, keyboard player, guitarist Dean Petrella, Chris Cruz on bass and vocals, Anthony Marotti on drums/vocals have honed their own distinctive sound over the past two decades plus of gigging around New England
Seven new songs plus an instrumental Track 8 of “Let Heaven Fall,” which always touches my heart as I love voice-less renditions, especially of great songs, this “Let’s Heaven Fall” is a GREAT song. It’s right up there with the trio’s finest work which includes “Trade Up,” and the Chris Lord-Alge produced “South Side Suicide.”
The material doesn’t go over three and a half minutes or under two minutes and twelve seconds, short bursts of pop/rock that don’t go on too long and stand kinda like an Extended-play and a half. This allows the listener to focus on tracks like “That’s What You Get,” an airy, nice car song to drive up the coast with. So too with “The Ocean,” which pulls the reigns in a bit, the same mood as “That’s What You Get,” shifting a bit. All substantial takes recorded Cranston Rhode Island’s The Shop, with mixing by Matt Ricci at Triad (Warren R.I.)
“Can’t Kill A Killer” explodes off the disc (or the Spotify, if you will, I’ve listened on both formats.) Adam Go plays saxophone on “Killer,” the only other musician on this outing. This song is reminiscent of “Trade Up,” still one of my fave tracks of theirs, with high praise from Left Coast DJ Kaos, who would play “Trade Up” in California clubs, courtesy of the late crazed genius, Buzzy Linhart.
The title track opens the parade, and seems like a tribute to John Cougar Mellencamp back to his “Hurts So Good” days. The Complaints have a massive list of covers as well as their originals in the repertoire and this is yet another collection that hits it out of the park.
Joe Viglione is the Chief Film Critic at TMRZoo.com. He has written thousands of reviews and biographies for AllMovie.com, Allmusic.com, Gatehouse (now Gannett) Media, Al Aronowitz’s The Blacklisted Journal, and a variety of other media outlets. Joe also produces and hosts Visual Radio, a critically acclaimed variety show on cable TV which has interviewed Jodie Foster, director/screenwriter David Koepp, Michael Moore, John Cena, comics/actors Margaret Cho, Gilbert Gottfried, Gallagher, musicians Mark Farner and Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad, Ian Hunter of Mott The Hoople, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Felix Cavaliere of The Rascals, political commentator Bill Press and hundreds of other personalities.