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, CREEPER released their expansive, ambitious and feverishly-awaited debut LP, ETERNITY, IN YOUR ARMS, in March 2017. 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, the album finds the Southampton six pushing hard against the boundaries of the art a ‘punk’ band can be expected to produce in 2017.
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 favorite 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 enamored with the adrenaline-fueled 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 colors, 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.