And here it is. After three years, as many EPs, countless miles, sweat-filled shows and sing-alongs, the debut full-length from Creeper is finally upon us.
They’ve nailed their aesthetic, conjured an intriguing mystique, and repeatedly shown that they can be damn near faultless across a handful of tunes. Now it’s down to these 11 songs to prove that the high hopes they’ve stirred since swooping in like a fresh breeze across the UK, haven’t been for naught…
Luckily, the sextet have never been ones to stand still. Long charged with the promise of great things, they’ve shone brighter still since the canny, full-time addition of Hannah Greenwood on keys and backing vocals in 2015. In fact, she almost steals the show across ‘Eternity, In Your Arms’, even taking centre stage on the gothic country-folk lament of ‘Crickets’ in its final strait. And yet that’s merely a hint at where the six-piece may one day go, bristling as this album is with admirable, fearless creativity.
At heart though, this is a punk rock record given to dramatic flourishes and rooted in an almost graphic novel-like world of fantasy, horror and romance. In the margins there are flashes of Misfits, Meat Loaf, Alkaline Trio and young adult life on the South Coast of England; all adding up to a kind of metaphorical, conceptual medium for sentiments of universal emotion and experience. Has any UK debut rock album ever aimed quite so high? It’s doubtful, and again, the songs soar in unison with the band’s grand vision.
Those songs are a riot, too. By now you’ve heard the adrenalized lead singles ‘Suzanne’ and ‘Hiding With Boys’. ‘Misery’ is present again too, but given a fresh lick of paint, rendering it somehow capable of crushing hearts once more with its desolate, devastating melancholy.
But there are a whole new bunch of anthemic gems – the swaying sea shanty of ‘Down Below’, the heart-swelling head-rush of ‘Winona Forever’, the pin-drop delicacy of emotional curtain closer ‘I Choose To Live’ – ready-made for true believers, and destined for ever expanding live spaces.
If there’s one criticism, it’s that ‘Darling’ is shamelessly indebted to its influences (chiefly the aforementioned ’Trio), but at least Creeper are cribbing from the very best. Besides, there’s enough imagination packed into every other crevice to forgive such indiscretions.
Although its skeleton may be classic three-chord punk, the band’s expanse of thoughts, ideas and inspirations give the album an ebb, a flow, and bundles of character, with Will Gould’s siren-like voice piercing through: making it distinctively, unmistakably them. Impressive, for a first shot at something on this scale.
Sadly, outsiders and underdogs don’t often get the opportunity to express themselves so freely these days. Such creative giddiness is usually focus-grouped and conference-roomed into smithereens. But Creeper aren’t wasting the chance they’ve been given by their step up to big boy label Roadrunner Records – running with every flight of fancy and living up to their billing as one of the UK rock scene’s most compelling prospects.
Cherish them, buy in and rejoice that we still have bands out there daring to be different, daring to dream.