ARTIST : Creeper
ALBUM : Sex, Death And The Infinite Void
RATING : 7/10
WORDS : Matthew Wilson
Although Creeper’s name may be attached to Sex, Death And The Infinite Void, for all intents and purposes this is the first record by a new band – The Fugitives Of Heaven -, born out of the very public self-destruction of their Callous Heart personas onstage at the end of 2018. The right time had come for Creeper to shake things up with a new gimmick, and, much like their obvious influence David Bowie, they’ve re-emerged with a new groove.
Gone are the punk edges and Misfits-inspired post-hardcore ragers; instead, The Fugitives Of Heaven are now cribbing from 80s post-punk, old school goth, and the aforementioned Bowie to create a radically new sound. The intoxicating chemistry of new romance, laced with apocalyptical self-destruction, runs all throughout the album, as The Fugitives Of Heaven tell a love story dripping with sex, nihilism and the imminent end of the world.
The first thing that grips you about this record is just how goddamn sexy it is – ‘Cyanide’ wants you to shake your tail, ‘Born Cold’ is dripping with lust, and ‘Paradise’ is a sultry, midnight getaway
The first thing that grips you about this record is just how goddamn sexy it is – ‘Cyanide’ wants you to shake your tail, ‘Born Cold’ is dripping with lust, and ‘Paradise’ is a sultry, midnight getaway, a saxophone solo exploding out of nowhere as the song comes to a climax. Nestled in between these songs lies ‘Annabelle’, which deserves to be on every single Creeper setlist from now until eternity – immensely catchy, tongue-in-cheek and confidently triumphant.
On this first run of five songs, Creeper are on fire. It’s camp, it’s melodramatic, it’s fun. These songs have clearly benefited from Creeper’s year out – they’re ambitious compositions, with dense layers of sonic textures, harmonies, and imagination. Unfortunately, after ‘Paradise’, ‘Sex, Death & The Infinite Void’ stumbles in quality. The tongue that was placed so very firmly in cheek of the first half of the album is replaced with straight faced, desperately sad goth songs, meandering without any real purpose.
‘Thorns Of Love’ in particular kills the momentum of the album dead, a derivative patchwork of musical ideas heard elsewhere. With an intro that’s note for note cribbed from Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’ a double tracked Queen-esque solo, and an aimless spoken word section, ‘Thorns Of Love’ sounds like a band playing dress-up in all their favourite influences. It’s placed in the middle of the album, and should be the lynchpin that holds it together – unfortunately, it acts as the nadir, and Creeper never truly recovers from it.
Creeper should keep taking these bold steps forward into unknown territory, but they need to remember where they came from, lest they get lost in their own infinite void
There are some bright spots towards the end of the album, especially on the murder ballad-esque duet of ‘Four Years Ago,’ showcasing Hannah Greenwood’s excellent vocals. But the second half of the album doesn’t come close to the sassy excitement of the first half, bar the stripped back ballad ‘All My Friends’ that closes the record. Heartfelt and honest, oozing sincerity, it possesses the qualities that made Creeper so endearing to so many.
When there’s a throughline that connects them to the Creeper of old – the campy melodrama, the huge sing along choruses, the earworm melodies, Sex, Death & The Infinite Void threatens to be the best thing they’ve done. Yet, when they take themselves too seriously, the melodrama becomes po-faced, falling flat, and Creeper almost becomes a pastiche of goth cliches. As much as there is growth, there is also aimless meandering into this gothic navel-gazing that takes up the second half of the record, getting lost in its own suspected self-importance. Creeper should keep taking these bold steps forward into unknown territory, but they need to remember where they came from, lest they get lost in their own infinite void.
Sex, Death & The Infinite Void is out now