Review Summary: A strong, persistent debut which is the best Creeper could have come up with.
Southampton's Creeper have done one hell of a good job of preparing us all for the eventual release of their debut album, Eternity, In Your Arms
. In similar fashion to Upon a Burning Body, Creeper have gone from "falsely" claiming their social media accounts have been hacked, to mysteriously sending all fans a link to a new webpage, and inciting a cleverly fake kidnapping event which swiftly turned out not to be true. A surefire way to get everybody's attention. But what has all this been in aid of, exactly" Does it seek to promote Creeper's influence on this new-fangled wave of Horror-inspired pop-punk, or is it merely a cheap trick to gain infinitely more fans. Perhaps the answer lies in your perception of just how good Eternity, in Your Arms
is, or maybe how much you'd enjoy seeing Creeper live. One thing's for sure, whether you like them or not, Creeper have done everything in their power to make sure you've heard of them.
Getting straight to the point, Eternity, in Your Arms
oozes such confidence and aspiration that you'd be forgiven for thinking Creeper had been releasing a whole catalogue of releases and had been around for a lot longer than the band's three-year existence would have you believe. That said, it's a thoroughly engaging take on AFI-inspired pop-punk, grasping the quirkier moments of latter-day Misfits and fusing it with Alkaline Trio's deadpan albeit down-to-earth, honest narcisissm. Songs such as opener "Black Rain", "Suzanne" and "Hiding with Boys" are all successful, ambitious musical pieces which feel as emotive and soulful as My Chemical Romance at their most sombre. The band's evident songwriting strength is quite the positive boon indeed, and added snippets here and there of Olivia Greenwood's tinkling keyboard interludes or her own vocal prowess-as on the gentle, dramatic "Crickets"-make for a versatility which isn't often utilized this concisely in the world of pop punk. Greenwood's keyboard work can't often be made out with outside distractions-you have to listen closely to songs such as "Poison Pens" to notice the subtle albeit well-refined piano interplay in the background. Thankfully however, that particular instrument never quite overstays its welcome, and in that respect, the musicianship is very fluent.
For those who normally listen to other sub-genres but whose curiosity has also been aroused thanks to Eternity, In Your Arms
' surrounding hype may be put off by the record's overall quirkiness however. From the band's deadpan name to the notable early AFI/Alkaline Trio/latter-day Misfits influences, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Creeper would sound somewhat more menacing that their debut actually is. Instead, we're left with a sound virtually focused on accessibility, quirky musicianship but not quite a style which seems, well, creepy
. However, those expecting this who have heard the music but not necessarily paid attention the lyricism may as well be shooting themselves in the foot. This is because the lyrics make up for the almost non-existent Horror-related elements inherent in Eternity, In Your Arms
. For instance, "Darling" is certainly an uplifting song from a musical perspective, but lyrics such as "I'm sick of Myself too" obviously aim for the opposite effect. Elsewhere, the lyricism plays out much like a story. In one of the album's gentler moments, "Misery", Gould can be heard serenading that "Misery never goes out of style", hinting at real-life emotional turmoil thanks to the bane of mental health that is clinical depression. I could go on, because the general lyricism here is one of the band's natural strongpoints, but it would take several more paragraphs to flesh out the point.
Eternity, In Your Arms
is one of 2017's surprising debut efforts by a band that have already made a reputation based on their actions, not merely the music they craft. Consistently coming across as a confident, ambitious group of still youthful individuald, Creeper's debut effort is the very best they could come up with. It also seems like a record which prepares us for even greater things to come.