Chances are, you’ve only heard of The Frustrators because of bassist Mike Dirnt’s tenure in the slightly more popular Green Day. Whether you fall under this category or you just happen to be a hardcore bar-punk fan, you might be interested in The Frustrators’ latest EP, Griller. The group’s first release in nine years is equal parts formulaic and charming. The Frustrators may not be innovative, but they are certainly pros at creating modest pop-punk without any fuss.
The opening track, “Stigma”, is standard, I-don’t-care, revivalist punk. Unfortunately, this means that it isn’t good for more than a few listens. On the other hand, “West of Texas (Part 2)” is somewhat ballsier than its predecessor. Between a catchy chorus and cool guitar solos courtesy of Terry Linehan, “West of Texas” stops just short of being an excellent song. The song is foiled by spoken word parts wedged in the verses and at the end of the song – they fail to achieve a trace of humor and interrupt the energy of the song.
“Prettiest Girl” is Griller’s low – a faithful cover, but it lacks the power-pop charm of The Neighborhood’s original. Thankfully, The Frustrators live up to their status as pop-punk veterans with the closing track, “We Need to Talk (It’s Not You, It’s Us)”. “We Need to Talk” succeeds where the rest of the EP ultimately fails – it is catchy, melodic, and funny, without sacrificing their characteristic, unpolished pop-punk sound. Jason Chandler leaves us with the parting words, “that’s why we’re through/just remember we broke up with you”, and Griller ultimately leaves a pleasant taste in your mouth… or rather, your ears.
Analysis aside, The Frustrators’ latest isn’t a quantifiable entity. Rather, its allure is born of some combination of nostalgia, rebellion, and beer. Griller is subject to the same question asked of most pop-punk releases – how fun is it? The answer is, “pretty damn.” So pick it up – The Frustrators’ Griller could be the soundtrack for your careless hooliganism.