"Self Titled EP" By NonCompliant (Lexington, KY)/Garage Rock/Released Nov 2016
Formed in August 2015, NonCompliant is a riot grrrl grunge band from Lexington, KY. Following a year of playing shows around their hometown alongside other notable Lexington acts like Them God Damn Bangs and The Rough Customers, they released their debut self titled EP in November of 2016 in both digital and old school cassette tape form.
The quartet combines the raw instrumentation and feminist ideals of bands like Bikini Kill and Bratmobile with mid tempo groove and song structures alike to Bleach-era Nirvana and other punk leaning grunge acts, While the songs are catchy in parts they steer clear of pop territory and while some songs are political they’re not overly preachy. While drawing from the grunge movement musically the quartet avoids delving too deep into the cliched angst the era is known for and go in a more poetic direction lyrically. The EPs production is raw but clean with the guitar having plenty of buzz and the drums the right amount of punch. Frontwoman Casie Lewis provides solid vocals that are strengthened when put into harmony with the vocals of guitarist Rachel Young. Bassist Ryann Mathers is a stand out instrumentalist with her treble heavy bass grooves being a driving force in every song and provides a unique trait to the band’s overall sound.
The five track EP begins with “Mold”, a dark, moody track that puts a lot of focus on groove that features some vocal interplay between Lewis and Young including some harmonies. “Define Success” picks up the energy with dynamic section changes and harmonized shouts at song’s end. “Garbage Skank” has a strong Nirvana vibe with its groovy bass line and the flowy rhythm of the guitar chords. The direct, self affirming lyrics also drive home the band’s empowerment message. Personal favorite “Royal Pine” is the most layered and dynamic song of the record. The surf rock bass lines provides a unique feel to the track as does the marching drum patterns. The frequent changes in song pattern keep the track fresh and interesting and the icing on the cake is the punk inspired gang shouts which provide a lot of opportunity for crowd participation in live shows. Closing the record is “IH8U”, two and a half minutes of fast paced politi-punk with the angry lyrics directed at both Kentucky governor Matt Bevin and Donald Trump.
NonCompliant’s first release provides a nice introduction to the group’s brand of girl grunge. Catchy riffs and grooves with a few sing along vocal melodies sprinkled in for good measure, the quartet is bringing back 90s punk in great fashion, With the swift growth of the band’s following in just over a year of live performances there should definitely be more to come out of the NonCompliant camp in the future for fans to look forward to.