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Creeper - The Stranger (Album Review)

Friday, 19 February 2016 Written by Alec Chillingworth

New bands are often picked up and dropped like they’re cricket balls covered in shit. Creeper, though, are not covered in shit. Creeper are covered in a spooky, translucent ectoplasm that you can’t help but touch.

It’s not conventional punk. The bloke at the Exploited gig with a Crimson Ghost tattooed on his face might not be super into it, but ‘The Stranger’ takes a lot of its cues from old school stuff. Amid its AFI-isms, Valentine’s gang vocal cry of “They’re all right!” borrows from Danzig-era Misfits and the shoutier, lairier side of the genre. But this isn’t loose or messy. This is sharper than a Stanley knife that’s joined Mensa.

The band have mentioned veteran producer Jim Steinman as an influence on ‘The Stranger’ and this shines through, particularly on the opening track, The Secret Society, and the lead single, Black Mass.

Will Gould’s nigh on Wagnerian rock vocal on the latter’s chorus is undisputedly catchy, unlike anything the band have tried before and just about on par with Meat Loaf. No, seriously. Stick ‘Bat Out Of Hell’ on, listen to all its choruses then go back to Black Mass.

But it’s the last two tracks here that make ‘The Stranger’ certifiably better than Creeper’s previous EP, ‘The Callous Heart’. Misery is one of those songs bands spend decades trying to craft. It’s an anthem, a singalong arena filler and an ode to its namesake, all without being contrived or Radio 2 fodder. Gould is the Gerard Way you lost to ‘Danger Days’. Just wait until that mid-section. The inevitable crescendo. “I’m your chipped nail paint, I’m the fabric of your coat,” he sings. “You are all I fear, you are words I never wrote.”

Astral Projection’s discordant closing throes were once the bones of a black metal song penned by guitarist Ian Miles, but once it’s been put into context, it’s just another facet to this wonderful, ridiculous band. Dan Bratton is a four-to-the-floor punk drummer first and foremost, but the finale is drenched in drama thanks to his powerful, on-the-money beating of the skins juxtaposing with gorgeous backing harmonies and ghoulish gang vocals.

Basically, this is as good as rock music gets. This is the sound of a band filling every second with gold. Scrap that, actually. Creeper are not even a band. Creeper are a vampiric disease that enters through your ears and bludgeons your erogenous zones before leaving you a dribbling mess of bodily fluids and back-patches.

Creeper Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Sat February 20 2016 - WEYMOUTH Finns
Sun February 21 2016 - NEWPORT Le Pub
Mon February 22 2016 - WREXHAM Rewind
Tue February 23 2016 - EDINBURGH Mash House
Wed February 24 2016 - DUNDEE Beat Generator Live
Thu February 25 2016 - HUDDERSFIELD Parish
Fri February 26 2016 - PETERBOROUGH Met Lounge
Sat February 27 2016 - COVENTRY Kasbah
Mon February 29 2016 - WORCESTER Marrs Bar
Tue March 01 2016 - GUILDFORD Boileroom
Wed March 02 2016 - BATH Moles
Thu March 03 2016 - LONDON Underworld
Fri March 04 2016 - TUNBRIDGE WELLS Forum

Click here to compare & buy Creeper Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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