Creeper are an ambitious band. They’ve made fans and critics wait three years and as many EPs for their debut album. They disappeared from social media and created an elaborate treasure hunt leading to their first single. They use theatrics and concept in their first full-length release. It was massively risky and it shouldn’t have worked, but it did.
‘Black Rain’ opens the album with a tinkering piano and spoken intro from Hannah Greenwood, backup vocalist and keyboardist. Then thundering drums kick in along with a screeching guitar riff and the band really take off. The punk influence is heavy here, but then the chorus is anthemic – it’s a great introduction to what Creeper are all about.
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‘Poison Pens’ is the heaviest song on the album, full of aggressive gang vocals and frantic drums. ‘Room 309’ has a similar vibe, before dissolving into an acoustic final twenty seconds – another example of the twists and turns throughout the record.
It becomes clear early on the album that Will Gould’s vocals are both versatile and unique. He sounds like he’d be as at home in musical theatre as he is in the alternative scene, and can do deep growls as well as smooth melodies.
The only previously-released track on the album is ‘Misery’ with its much-quoted lyric, “Misery never goes out of style.” The band are keen to stress that they don’t want to become their tagline, though, because much as they love the line, they’re careful not to glamorise depression. It’s a gorgeous song though, and the chorus is a fan favourite for good reason.
That unwillingness to celebrate sadness is important as it’s a mistake many mid-2000’s emo bands made. Although darkness is absolutely core to Creeper’s identity, they don’t wallow in it. They’re constantly trying to find ways to overcome difficulty and encourage others to do the same. In fact, closing track ‘I Choose To Live’ is a direct message to fans who are struggling, and a reminder that Gould knows exactly how they feel.
There are upbeat moments, too, most notably ‘Hiding With Boys’ with its massive chorus that just begs to be performed at an open air festival in summer. The brilliant ‘Winona Forever’ is another more melodic track and a top contender for getting stuck in your head.
Greenwood takes centre stage on the surprising, acoustic ‘Crickets’. Her voice perfectly portrays the emotion of the song, a beautiful break-up letter. She sounds like she could burst into tears at any point, yet somehow retains an impressive strength.
Although Creeper’s sound is certainly not new, this album still feels like a breath of fresh air. For a band who have only released their debut album, they have a completely solid identity. Their distinctive look, as well as the mystique and story they’ve built up, has earned them a dedicated “cult” of fans. They know how to play the game but never seem disingenuous, and that’s why their success is so well-deserved.
Creeper are slowly but surely taking over the UK rock scene and setting a precedent for new bands to try something different and be as creative as possible. “Eternity, In Your Arms”, is only the beginning – this band are going to be huge and they have absolutely earned it.