Creeper outgrew punk a long time ago. Even on the Southampton band’s early slew of EPs, there was a rock opera lurking somewhere between the choppy waters of their AFI-meets-Alkaline Trio assault. The band fulfilled that vision on last year’s grandiose ‘Sex, Death & The Infinite Void’, which brought together goth, whip-smart art-rock and smudged eye-liner melodramatics on one of the year’s best albums.
- READ MORE: Creeper talk ‘American Noir’: “If you want something super serious, we’re just not the band for you”
The tracks that make up their latest EP ‘American Noir’ are offshoots from the ‘… Infinite Void’ sessions, songs that didn’t quite fit that record but sit here together beautifully to form a defining statement of their own. These ghoulish tales of forbidden, obsessive love feel vampiric, elegant and strangely ageless, as though they’ve been recorded and preserved in black-and-white. It’s like the Twilight soundtrack for Gen-Z.
‘Midnight’, a track that’s half-Jim Steinman pomp and half-Queen, sounds like Anne Rice herself is playing a grand piano at the bottom of a sweeping staircase in a crumbling mansion. ‘Ghosts Over Calvary’ sees the band paint decadent images of crushed velvet and burning candles. “I was born to die with you,” sings co-vocalist Hannah Greenwood. “I’ve got evil running through my veins / Hurt me, but I don’t feel the pain.” The dreamy ‘Damned and Doomed’ could be a Lana Del Rey song, albeit one that swaps pastel skies and sun-kissed glamour for white roses and ice-cold skin as Greenwood yearns for the kind of apocalyptic romance that can soundtrack the end of days: “All the prettiest boys and girls flirt with death.”
Despite all the elaborate theatrics, Creeper have always had a very simple message of inclusivity at the core of their art. Like the band’s previous anthems of solidarity (‘I Choose To Live’, ‘Misery’ and ‘All My Friends’), ‘One Of Us’, with its sombre refrain from frontman Will Gould (“Born in the shadows, to die in the dust / You’re not like the others, you’re one of us”), will empower any misfit who has ever felt alone in this world.
Despite its brevity, ‘American Noir’ still feels like a truly significant entry in Creeper’s discography. These songs sound truly timeless, exist outside of trend and genre and are instantly recognisable as the work of their creators. Not many bands manage to make the leap to become truly peerless, but Creeper are making it seem easy. God knows where they’ll be in another five years.
Release date: July 30
Record Label: Roadrunner Records