The Frustrators are a punk-rock supergroup of sorts, made up of members of Waterdog, Violent Anal Death and Green Day. Combining New England punk roots with Mike Dirnt’s California-rooted punk rock, The Frustrators are a middle ground between the polish of pop-punk and the gritty attitude of the Fat Wreck Chord school of rock.
“Stigma” is a wonderful opener, providing simple, power-chord and riff-driven punk rock. Jason Chandler’s vocals are reminiscent of The Lawrence Arms, and that’s the style channelled in this opening song. It’s pop-punk without the polish, and this is a great way to kick off Griller.
There’s a nice change of pace for “West of Texas”, which introduces a bit of swagger to the album. We also get to hear a bit more of Mike Dirnt’s unmistakable bass lines, which add an extra dimension to Griller and The Frustrators as a whole.
Musically, “West of Texas” is quite a dark song, but one of the best on this four-track EP.
The slightly ambient tone continues with the opening of “Prettiest Girl” (a cover of The Neighborhood’s song of the same name), although it builds into an almost rock n’ roll song, with a riff in the vein of AC/DC.
It does go back to business as usual, and it’s where Mike’s Green Day influences shine through most on this record. That said, the identity and roughness of The Frustrators make this style very much their own, despite it being a cover treading familiar ground.
The album ends with “We Need To Talk (It’s Not You, It’s Us)”, a track that felt a bit too short. It wasn’t that it was much shorter than the rest of the E.P. (“Stigma” is shorter), but it was a slow, plodding ballad of sorts that would’ve benefited from an extra minute or so.
That said, it ended Griller in a fine way, although another song keeping up the pace would’ve made the EP more consistent as a whole. Regardless, it’s great to get some solid new material from The Frustrators, particularly when all four songs reach and maintain a relatively high standard.