Creeper continuously impress me like few bands I’ve heard in the past few years. It could be so easy for the band’s goth-glam-punk sound to go overboard and end up becoming a ridiculous parody of itself *coughcoughMCRcoughcough*, but I think the band’s hardline dedication to their own aesthetic and narrative concept gives everything they do a real sense of purpose. And the theatricality the band has been honing over the course of their first three EPs is certainly dialed up to a new height on this third single from their upcoming debut album Eternity, In Your Arms, with its piano-laden spoken word intro and soaring guitar solo all before the first verse. It’s certainly a bold way for a punk band to start their abum with such a staggered build, but once the whole band kicks in, all bets are off.
One of the interesting things about Creeper is how, in such a short period of time and without an album out yet, they’ve created a strange mythos around their music, mostly based around the mysterious character The Stranger and the seemingly ghostly Callous Heart gang. The band had been running an online ARG about a paranormal investigator researching these characters in the lead up to the first single from the album, and it seems that the whole album is based around this investigator. Or at least that’s what I’ve gathered from the music video for this song.
But back to the actual music, this track absolutely blew me away. I’ve enjoyed the first two singles from Eternity so far, but “Black Rain” could be the band’s masterstroke. The song really crams a whole world into three and a half minutes, with the dirgey minor key chord progression and hymn-like chorus befitting the abandoned church in which the band performs in the music video. This is gothic in the old sense of the word: stately, but encased in cobweb and and underneath overcast skies. Once again Will Gould practices his brilliant dichotomy of snotty punk vocals and semi-operatic bellowing, with prominent backing vocals from keyboardist Hannah Greenwood adding a major hook to the chorus.
I think the thing Creeper do so much better than a lot of bands who go for a similar vibe is that Creeper, for all of the crazy conceptual elements, striking visuals, and dramatic theatricality, are still a punk band. The music is quick and furious but allows just enough breathing room to let all these other things seep into the fabric of the band’s music. Listen to this. It’s the best song of the year so far, and I think it’ll stay pretty high on that list for the remainder.