Has Creeper taken too much into their musical melting pot for their second album? Is Sex, Death and the Infinite Void an enchantment of mysterious thrills to escape to or a bloated mixed up mess to escape from?
The album tells the story of Roe and Annabelle. A tale of star-crossed romance, sexual exploration and nefarious melancholy. A glamorously tragic existence saturated with conflict infatuation and poison.
As the rain beats out a rhythm of darkness full of omniscience and possibility. Hallelujah! takes you by the hand granting you admittance to the world of Sex, Death and the Infinite Void.
Be My End is a burst of boppy pop songcraft, all of which could have been torn from any number of punk rock maestros who have gone before. However, it is Creeper as a collective that manages to give it a spritz of freshness. Dan Bratten’s pounding precision keeps the energy flowing. The track dipping for a cute romantic tingle of a middle eight and ultimately maintains itself as an invigorating sweet sing-along. We hit a trio of the released tracks: Born Cold, Cyanide and Annabelle their driving refrains, theatrical excess and skilful lyrical inventions are well rounded and layered. The tracks propel the story along drawing you further into the lives of our protagonists.
It would have been safer for Creeper to perpetuate the established cliché of leather jackets, the decadence of youth and unrequited love. However, while they remain inhabiting the world of night, Creeper has expanded and matured their domain. Their sophomore album introduces consequence, motivation and requited desires to their visceral, at times delicately tortured lyricism. Still, Creeper wear their passions on their sleeves and their influences are openly transparent from the start. But does this define or damage the album?
As we move into the albums second act, we drift into something of a melancholic reverie. Paradise, Poisoned Heart, Thorns of Love and Four Years Ago bathe us in some fragile and fraught balladeering. Every note of each is an excess of romanticized emotion. Poisoned Heart and Four Years Ago particularly stand out, while birthed from different origins and tones. It is the lyrical delivery in both that is such a potent delight. Will Gould and Hannah Greenwood show, what is likely, just some of the extent of their ranges and the intenseness of emotion they can produce from a listener and Ian Miles guitar work on Poisoned Heart while unfussy is exquisite emotive.
As we approach the conclusion of this fable, Napalm Girls and Black Moon breakthrough with catchy polished Jawbreaker-esque meets 60’s Wall of Sound surf rock atmospherics. Entertaining enough in your living room, live they will doubtlessly find an additional spark that will elevate them further. There are tracks that transcend time that age at a rate far slower than anything mortal. While we may not be around long enough to know, the album closer, All My Friends has the scent of such a track. Densely emotional it takes the most broken, beaten of hearts and drags them over gravel and shattered glass. Anyone yet made it to the end of the song without tears? To many, it’ll stands as a reminder no matter how alone, how lost or how devoid of anything to cling to – we are, apparently, not alone.
Avoiding stagnation and delivering anything but ordinary is something Creeper need continuous applause and encouragement for. The endorsement of their peers within their music and aesthetic less so. For the band individually there is exceptional talent, expertise and creativity. Creeper, without a doubt, could produce something with fewer derivative aspects. This does not mean that Sex, Death and The Infinite Void is not worthy of admiration because it certainly is. Together with honouring their idols, Creeper does artfully continue to curate from a magnitude of fields. This time around its gothic cinematics, Americana twangs and that particularly lascivious British indie rock. Creeper has melded all these together throughout Sex, Death and The Infinite Void delivering ultimately a lustily romantic, deliciously dark emotional burlesque.
Flick Of The Finger Rating: 4.5 Stars / 5 Stars
Sex, Death and the Infinite Void is released Friday 31 July 2020 via Roadrunner Records. You can pre-order a variety of bundles via the following link. Alternative formats are available from independent record stores and online retailers.