Robbed of exorcising the demons of the exhausting creative process that yielded critically-acclaimed album ‘Sex, Death and the Infinite Void’ in a celebratory live setting, Creeper do what only Creeper can do – launch an incredibly bold and daring EP. Billed by lead singer William Gould as the “epilogue” to the band’s sophomore record, ‘American Noir’ feels like a different beast entirely.
The iconography portrays Gould as the fallen commander draped in a tattered American flag, and the music of ‘American Noir’ feels like the tragedy of a hero from a graphic novel. Opening with the static ravaged ‘Midnight Militia’, Gould bellows his manifesto with, ironically, an overly Queen’s English speech of “angels and devils”.
Much like ‘Sex, Death and the Infinite Void’, the overall atmosphere of the EP feels like it could be easily transformed into a West End musical. The extravagant, overblown lead single ‘Midnight’ is the classic Creeper formula of enormous chorus, duelling male and female vocals in a familiar tale of doomed romance.
There has been quite a sea change in Creeper’s sound since the early days of the scrappy ‘Callous Heart’ and self-titled EPs; keyboardist Hannah Greenwood has been given much more prominence on recent records. She takes over lead vocals duties on ‘Ghosts Over Cavalry’, a triumphant power rock track, and the quivering lullaby ‘Damned and Doomed’. It once again signals the band’s willingness to be bold and not stick to a tried and tested formula; Greenwood gives Creeper’s sound that extra level of romanticism with an alluring voice that jumps between defiance and vulnerability, and when Gould jumps back in Creeper are able to produce an almost lounge-esque track as he croons about what happens after everything goes black.
The band stated that the tracks of ‘American Noir’ were written while making ‘Sex, Death and Infinite Void’, and while this could carry a ‘left on the cutting room floor’ vibe, it is an excellent standalone EP.
While we feel cheated that we haven’t been able to see the live interpretation of ‘Sex, Death and the Infinite Void’, we can be safe in the knowledge that Creeper have another thought provoking act right around the corner.