Release Year: 2014
It’s rare that I fall head over heels for a band after hearing one song, but it happened with Creeper. I became obsessed with their debut album, Eternity in Your Arms, and quickly learned everything I could about them. I even started digging through their past releases, which only includes a few EPs. And now that the band is supposedly “over,” I thought it’d be fun to take a look at their very first release, Creeper.
The EP doesn’t pack as much punch as their full-length album, but it’s still pretty good. Everything that makes Creeper stand out, like the melodrama, the intricate stories, Hannah Greenwood’s flourishing piano, the theatrics, are all missing here. Whereas their album flawlessly blended elements of punk, Goth rock, and rockabilly, here they go for a straightforward pop-punk sound.
“We Had a Pact,” “Gloom,” and “VCR” all have a similar format: high energy, frantic guitars, melodic harmonies, and catchy hooks. These tracks aren’t bad, but little about them stands out. There are some darker elements lurking, but they don’t explore them like they would later on. Also, we hear Will Gould getting comfortable with his voice. He sounds completely different on most of the songs. Though they may not be as gripping as their later material, they do show Creeper’s talent for writing catchy hooks and irresistible harmonies. I couldn’t remember most of these songs, but I always recognized and sang along with the hook.
Creeper breaks away from the formula with “Into the Black.” It’s still fast paced punk rock, but the music is more intense and heavier than the other tracks. Gould also starts to sound more like himself here, embellished vocals and all. Its hard driving energy and gang vocals give it this great rallying cry feel and helps the song stand out. It’s one of the few on the EP that grips you and lets you know there’s something special about this band.
Elements of where the band would eventually go with their sound can be heard throughout the EP, such as gang vocals and macabre lyrics about love and death. But the song that really captures Creeper’s next chapter is “Novena.” Unlike the other songs, this one is quiet with Gould gently cooing about love while a soft acoustic guitar backs him up. It’s an intimate moment that finds him embellishing his vocals for dramatic flair. Things really come alive at the end when the music kicks up and takes on a rockabilly tone, similar to that heard on “Black Mass.” Hands down, it’s the best song on the EP. Whereas the other tracks felt formulaic, they take a risk here and experiment with their sound. This is the song that sounds the most like Creeper as we know them now.
Looking back, Creeper is a promising EP. I don’t think it’s as fun as the full length album and they haven’t quite found their sound, but it’s still a solid record. Though most of it feels similar, they have great energy and catchy hooks that keep you engaged. And the few stand out songs that find them playing with their sound show a band in the midst of evolving. This was only the beginning before they even knew where to take the band. It wouldn’t be until Creeper’s next release that would take things one step further.