Named as Best British Newcomer at the Kerrang! Awards, Best New Band at the Metal Hammer Golden God Awards and Best British Newcomer in Rock Sound readers’ poll, the March 24th release of CREEPER’s expansive, ambitious and feverishly-awaited debut album ‘ETERNITY, IN YOUR ARMS’ finds the Southampton six pushing hard against the boundaries of the art a ‘punk’ band can be expected to produce in 2017.
The album is the third installment in a trilogy of records (after the highly acclaimed EPs ‘The Callous Heart’ and ‘The Stranger’) loosely based around J.M Barrie’s Peter Pan. ‘ETERNITY, IN YOUR ARMS’ sees the band wrestling with existential crises, personal failures and emotional desolation via the kaleidoscope of a richly drawn narrative tapestry.
“With [2015’s] ‘The Callous Heart’ EP we wrote a bunch of heart-broken love songs based around Peter Pan’s The Lost Boys,” explains vocalist Will Gould. “‘The Stranger’ EP was full of more fearful songs about the things that terrify us – linking back to the Tick Tock Croc. With the album there is a combination of both of those things, but the majority of the record is about addressing those concerns – things we’ve been through in our real lives – from a very immediate, present standpoint.”
The main human protagonist of ‘ETERNITY…’ is James Scythe, a private investigator who travels to the south coast to debunk the legend of ‘The Stranger’ as well as putting his own demons to rest - but then mysteriously disappears. Such is the detailed, immersive experience that the band have built in the mere two years since their inception, that fans know not only the hotel Scythe stayed at in Southampton but the specific room number, as well as having access to a library of podcasts by him and a network of websites he frequented before seemingly vanishing into thin air.
Ostensibly a punk band, CREEPER’s sonic palette draws on everything from Alkaline Trio and Jawbreaker to Meat Loaf, David Bowie and Queen. Throughout ‘ETERNITY...’, those influences are united by a rich array of orchestration – everything from trumpets and strings, to keys, spoken word poetry and close vocal harmonies.
The album sprints from the starting blocks with ‘Black Rain’ which blends CREEPER’s most striking traits: scintillating energy fuelled with theatrical flourishes and an anthemic chorus delivered in impassioned style by Gould and keyboardist / second vocalist Hannah Greenwood contrasting-yet-complementary vocal approaches.
CREEPER’s stylistic leaps are diverse in nature. Recent single ‘Suzanne’ – already championed by Sir Elton John – swings between the energy of the Misfits and a flamboyant hook that recalls The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and its follow-up ‘Hiding With Boys’ brims with religious imagery that was inspired by Arcade Fire’s ‘Neon Bible’. Gould’s personal favourite is ‘Crickets’, a song which sees Greenwood come to the fore for a stark, stripped-back and utterly affecting vocal performance. Long-terms fans will also be enamoured with the adrenaline-fuelled punch of ‘Room 309’ (a title which references Scythe’s hotel residence) and ‘Poison Pens’.
CREEPER – completed by guitarists Ian Miles and Oliver Burdett, bassist Sean Scott and drummer Dan Bratton – have created a canvas painted with unashamedly bold strokes and a multitude of colours, and nowhere is this more evident than in the album’s brave closing track ‘I Choose To Live’. While many of their songs deal with stories and metaphor, ‘I Choose To Live’ unlocks the band’s visceral attack for a highly emotional paean to the healing power of music – a place where both CREEPER and their fans can escape for a respite from the challenges of daily life.
The album tracklisting is:
1. BLACK RAIN
2. POISON PENS
4. HIDING WITH BOYS
6. DOWN BELOW
7. ROOM 309
10. WINONA FOREVER
11. I CHOOSE TO LIVE
To coincide with the album’s release, CREEPER will embark upon their biggest UK and European headline tour to date. The dates are:
25th – Manchester, Academy 2
26th – Glasgow, The Garage
27th – Newcastle, University
28th – Leeds, Stylus
30th – London, Electric Ballroom (SOLD OUT)
31st – Southampton, The 1865 (SOLD OUT)
1st – Birmingham, Institute 2
2nd – Cardiff, Tramshed
4th – Germany, Hamburg, Hafenklang
5th – Denmark, Copenhagen, Lille VEGA
6th – Norway, Oslo, Krøsset
7th – Sweden, Stockholm, Klubben
9th – Germany, Cologne, MTC
10th – Germany, Munich, Strom
11th – Austria, Vienna, Arena
12th – Germany, Berlin, Cassiopeia
14th – France, Paris, Backstage By The Mill
15th – Netherlands, Amsterdam, Melkweg Oude Zaal