Few bands these days could hold their fans and the industry in suspense for three years before releasing their debut album. From the off though, it was pretty clear that Southampton goth-punks Creeper were special.
Until now the band have only recorded three EPs but each of those felt like a moment. Now signed to major label Roadrunner, it feels like this sextet, made up of vocalists Will Gould and Hannah Greenwood, guitarists Ian Miles and Oliver Burdett, bassist Sean Scott and drummer Dan Bratton, have got the substance to match their vision. With every release, the band issued a meticulously crafted, sinister mythology to accompany it and now that spectacle, and their cast of dark characters including The Callous Heart, a vampiric ghost gang and The Stranger, a skeletal night visitor, have been absorbed into the bands rich punk noir aesthetic.
To promote 'Eternity, In Your Arms' the band went even further. They 'disappeared’ off social media, sending fans on a macabre hunt that led them to the “murder scene” of paranormal investigator, James Scythe (you can even listen to his podcast on Soundcloud) and held a faux funeral in North London, where they paid respects to the older songs they no longer intended to play live. Only a band with supreme confidence in their new material would pull a stunt like that, but unsurprisingly 'Eternity, In Your Arms' is a complete triumph. Even in the early days, Creeper’s scrappy AFI-meets-Alkaline Trio punk was embroidered with grandiose theatrical visions and now it’s clear their sound has truly flourished, grown wings and soared into velvet skies.
There’s the tracks we’ve come to expect like ‘Suzanne’ and ‘Poison Pens’, raging pop punk capable of uniting the hardcore kids, crusty punks and goths in one uber-alt mob. ‘Down Below’ indulges a Misfits meets My Chemical Romance romantic fantasy and the anthemic gem, ‘Hiding With Boys’ is pure nu-emo adrenaline with a fantastic chorus.
Elsewhere though there’s surprises. The band open their debut with the Jim Steinman-influenced goth majesty of ‘Black Rain’ while ‘Misery’, previously featured on second EP 'The Stranger', with its “Misery never goes out of style” refrain, is the is the only track to make it from their past through to their present. Towards the end of the album however, musical theatre gives way to acoustic country. Former backing singer Hannah Greenwood, now a full-time member of the band, leads on the heart-tugging Crickets, her voice breaking over the memories of broken hearts and shattered dreams and demonstrating this this band are anything but one trick ponies.
With 'Eternity, In Your Arms', Creeper have torn up their own sonic rulebook, giving them licence to roam musically wherever they please. It’s a fresh page in a new story for a band who are really just getting started.
Words: Dannii Leivers
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