Creeper – ‘Creeper’

By Rob Barbour

Holy crap, this is great. Like some kind of three-chord dairy, the UK is churning out quality punk rock at the moment and the latest vat of melodic butter to roll off the production line comes courtesy of Southampton’s Creeper.

The band themselves make a fair deal of their pedigree, being formed as they are from the ashes of several South Coast bands who plugged away on the toilet circuit for years generating plenty of fans but never quite reaching the heights to which they clearly aspired. I won’t mention those bands here, though, because quite frankly they’re irrelevant: Creeper are far more than the sum of their parts and this EP stands heads and shoulders above anything its various composers might have done in the past.

Opening track ‘We Had A Pact’ wouldn’t have sounded out of place on a Fat Wreck compilation from the late-90s and if that sounds like a backhanded compliment, it really isn’t meant to. Coming on like Interpol-gone-pop-punk, it bursts into a life-affirming chorus at which point the EP puts both of its hands around your shoulders and refuses to let go until the last notes decay. ‘Gloom’, meanwhile, has both a gang vocal chorus and a full-blown guitar solo – what the hell else do you want? While too many bands have a sound belying a clear, singular influence it’s goddamned wonderful to hear a collection of heartfelt, melodic songs with no obvious ambition but to make the listener jump around like a nutter while simultaneously feeling ‘all the feels’.

Recorded by Neil Kennedy, arguably the most under-rated producer working in the UK today, the EP strikes the exact right balance between shred and sheen. Harmonies and melodies soar while buzzing guitars saw and all the while, Kennedy gently turns up the lose-your-shit-o-meter until the gauge pops just in time for acoustic-driven closer Novena to bring proceedings to a suitably epic conclusion.

It’s not flawless; vocally, Creeper have a tendency towards Americanism which makes for some lazy but unavoidable comparisons. ‘VCR’, for example, might be the best Alkaline Trio song Matt Skiba never wrote and as previously mentioned hints of Paul Banks pervade. The thing is, when the songs are this good it’s impossible to really give a damn about the way they’re being enunciated. Absolute gold.

ROB BARBOUR

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