You can’t say this about many bands, but Creeper are one of those anomalies that just get better and better with each new release. American Noir is a masterpiece.
It’s clear to see that the Southampton outfit has evolved from the long-haired punk rock band to the clean-cut Fugitives of Heaven, and now we are given this elegant, gothic image. It’s dark and romantic and when Will Gould and his friends are doing something like this, you know you’re in for something good.
American Noir consists of offshoots from many of the Sex, Death & the Infinite Void recording sessions. Although they didn’t fit what Creeper was going for on last summer’s album release, they sit together perfectly on this EP. They make a statement of their own. It feels as if they were recorded and saved in black and white, suspended in time — to say these songs are absolutely timeless is an understatement.
The first single ‘Midnight’ introduces us to the EP with a grand piano that feels like it could have been played at a dive bar in the 1920s before Creeper add their signature sound — giving it a more punk rock feeling, yet still sounding like a show tune or the opening to a rock opera.
The whole album works as an epilogue to the story of the fallen angel, Roe, and this can really be heard on ‘Ghosts Over Calvary.’ It tells the story of what happened after Roe’s demise and it’s not a happy tale. We’re reminded of burnt-out candles and crushed roses with a ‘love is dead’ feel running throughout the track. Rather than a warm welcome back to Calvary Falls, it’s more like being dragged back into a nightmarish landscape void of all light and romance.
Creeper have always conveyed the message of inclusivity on their albums and EPs and this is no exception. ‘One Of Us’ is somber. Will sings “Born in the shadows, to die in the dust / You’re not like the others, you’re one of us.” If this doesn’t feel inclusive and reassuring to any misfit who has felt alone in this world, then what does?
American Noir can’t be talked about without bringing up ‘Damned and Doomed’. Summoning images of ice-cold skin and the most romantic apocalypse ever, this is one of those songs that is just perfect. It’s so beautiful and it shows the more heartfelt side of Creeper. Keyboard player Hannah Greenwood takes vocals on this track and it hits you hard. Everything’s there — the beauty, the elegance, the romance — it’s almost overwhelming.
This EP really lives up to its name with a noir feel to the whole 8 track run. Each song takes you a little further into the world Creeper cleverly creates around you. You can really see these songs soundtracking a black and white movie. Creeper have become incomparable. Looking at their previous albums and EPs and then this sonic offering, it’s amazing we didn’t see this coming sooner.
Words by Louis Suffill
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