Adult. formerly was comprised of husband and wife duo of Adam Lee Miller and Nicola Kuperus. They've been a longtime DIY force in the Detroit music scene, not only starting their own label (Ersatz Audio), but doing all their own artwork, production, etc. The group recently added a third member in guitarist Sam Consiglio, after he contributed elements to their recent D.U.M.E. EP and joined full time before the release of this, their latest full length.
Gimme Trouble may come as slightly disorienting to those who have followed the group from the beginning. Not only is the album released on a slightly larger label (the excellent, and varied Thrill Jockey), but the group has broken free from a few of the more subtle things that they did on their first few releases. The result is a mixed and sometimes downright frustrating album from the group, despite the slightly more rocking feel.
The biggest change in the overall sound of the group is sort of a combination of both the instrumentation and vocal styles of Kuperus. Whereas in the past, the group seemed to be content to lull one into varied states with subtle, sultry, and/or a combination of the above, Gimme Trouble is about as over the top as albums come. For a group that in the past was lumped in alongside numerous other "electroclash" artists (who often have to set themselves apart by being more outrageous than the next), Adult. often distinguished themselves with their cool and clever demeanor, but this newest effort from the group largely finds them ditching that for an almost bratty-sounding brashness.
The album kicks things off right out of the gate with growling synth basslines, stabby electronic squeals, and old-school drum machine programming while Kuperus seems to inflect ever single vowel of her vocals with an upward curl that at first seems like it might just be punctuation for the particular track, but indeed isn't. There are several tracks where the group can get away with the the more yelping vocals, but when they slow things down (as on "Bad Ideas" and "Thought I Choked" among others), the effect is downright irritating.
Musically, the album unfortunately feels mostly like kind of a rush job (given the two week recording time, perhaps that was the case), with the bands past slick sound thrown by the wayside for a more obvious, punk-inspired feel that relies on many of the same gritty synth sounds, goth throwback bass guitar sounds, and fairly standard beat programming that tends to 4/4 down the synth snare hit when in doubt. Given the past work from the group, Gimme Trouble is a major curveball, seemingly reveling in just about everything tacky about electroclash. From the over-the-top vocals to the less than subtle instrumentation (except for a couple tracks), this newest effort from the group just doesn't have the same power and subtlety that their past work did. A definite disappointment.