By Luigi Sibona
Say hello to your new favourite band. Exploding onto the scene with a perfectly conceived mission statement, Southampton’s very own Creeper have dropped what can only be the best rock debut of the year.
From the opening track, ‘Black Rain’, which sets the stage in wonderfully grandiose fashion, ‘Eternity, In Your Arms’ is a record with staggering peaks and rug-pulling valleys. Following a rough concept framework inspired by Peter Pan, this is a record mounted with confidence coming out the wazoo. From the anthem kickoff to the melancholic yearning of ‘Misery’ (the only track brought over from past EPs) to the rollicking hardcore punk of ‘Room 309’, this is a wonderfully sequenced record.
Having cut their teeth touring relentlessly and releasing three stellar EPs, the chemistry and songwriting chops here is that of a band years down the line, but these guys have done it in one fell swoop. With inspirations as eclectic as AFI, The Cure and David Bowie, Creeper throws a lot at the wall and, unfathomably, it all sticks! There’s punk rock, Goth crooning, post-hardcore and huge pop hooks (these will be the catchiest tracks of the year bar none). There’s even a lilting country ballad tossed into the mix, the beautiful ‘Crickets’, and it all melds together seamlessly.
Large amount of credit goes to frontman, Will Gould. Destined to be a total rockstar, Will carries every vocal line with such flamboyant gusto he earns the heady comparison to the Bowie’s and the Morrissey’s of the world. You’d be hard pressed to find a singer working today that delivers such wrought melodies with both the theatricality and guttural catharsis Will does on lead singles ‘Suzanne’ and ‘Hiding With Boys’. Keyboardist and backing vocalist, Hannah Greenwood, deserves special mention, lending a tonal counterpoint to some of the harmonized choruses and when she gets her moment to shine in the record’s later third, jaws will drop.
There are instant superficial similarities to groups such as My Chemical Romance or Alkaline Trio, but they surpass any such lazy comparisons with leaps and bounds. Even the great AFI (another influence in Creeper’s potent sonic witches brew) took four attempts to make a record of this maturity and musicianship. This expertly woven tapestry of influence is as inspired by the operatic bombast of Queen as by the pop-punkers of days gone by.
Ending on the huge, anthemic woah-along, ‘I Choose To Live’, which draws as much from Freddy Mercury’s impassioned belting as anything else, this is a very music literate record that is constantly surprising you. Just when you think you’ve see it all the rug comes flying out from under you again with an effortless shift in genre or another killer hook.
This is a band you should be excited about, a band that has a sound, an image, a narrative mapped out and honed to a glimmering sheen. We can’t wait to watch them grow and evolve further as songwriters and, dare we say it, get even better.
There have been some huge debuts in the world of rock this decade (Ghost, Kvelertak and Nails to name a few) and ‘Eternity, In Your Arms‘ stands strong in their company and they’re ours; the little Southampton band that could… Call them horror-punk, goth-rock, emo, whatever you want, Creeper have what it takes to be the biggest rock band in the UK, headlining festivals, selling out stadiums and we’ll back them every step of the way.