In the music industry bands can often be “over-hyped” for no reason or without any real substance. However in the case of Southampton’s Creeper, they are the real deal. In the space of 18 months, they’ve released two solid EP’s that been welcomed with open arms by fans and critics. Now EP #3, ‘The Stranger,’ arrives just mere months after ‘The Callous Heart.’ Having previously laid down a slight theatrical element to their brand of “gloom punk,” ‘The Stranger’ serves to expand on this.
‘The Secret Society’ broodingly opens the EP with slow, stirring guitars as tribal-like drums build towards vocalist Will Gould exclaiming “because we’re young” as his band mates compliment with anthemic “woah"s. When combined with a stringent riff and Gould’s defiant vocals, Creeper create a satisfying dramatic aura.
‘Valentine’ sees the sextet return to their thriving punk best yet, as Gould’s position as front man is emphasised. Whilst previous releases have seen Gould compared to Matt Skiba and Davey Havok, songs like ‘Valentine’ and later on ‘Misery’ sees him come into his own. Lead-off single ‘Black Mass’ follows up in a similar fashion with its bouncy bass line and overall upbeat tempo.
Nevertheless, it is the aforementioned ‘Misery’ that serves as the EP highlight. Musically stripped down, it allows Gould’s fragility to take the spotlight. Impassioned and melancholic in equal measure, it is Creeper’s most compelling moment to date. ‘Astra Projection’ sees out the EP with a final blast of flourishing punk before momentarily becoming intimate. Even so, it is their collective defiance that wins out as Gould and company provide a rousing finale.
At its core, ‘The Stranger’ sees Creeper stick to their origins; gothic-esque punk wrapped in a stirring, dramatic skin. However if there is one trait Creeper have achieved with each release, it is their ability to expand in both their songwriting and musical output. With every release, Creeper’s stature grows and ‘The Stranger’ is ultimately another substantial step.
‘The Stranger’ EP by Creeper is released on February 19th on Roadrunner Records.
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)