There’s a lot more than aesthetics at play with Creeper’s vampiric styling. Formed out of the demise of UK punk pedigree Our Time Down Here and Hang The Bastard, their debut EP is a grave-dodging exercise in reanimation - both of the members’ musical prospects and of a scene that constantly appears in danger of stagnation.
Heavily reminiscent of the early-00s’ heyday of fingerless skeleton gloves and MTV2 marathons, Creeper filter their on-the-shoulder influences through a love of the classically macabre, with frontman Will Gould’s impassioned accounts of love and loss finding the perfect middle ground between anecdotal and supernatural. ‘Gloom’ sees Gould refer to his loving embrace as “like you were a kitchen knife”, and ‘VCR’ ponders whether “the things I assign worth to really mean a thing at all” - a suitably gloomy undertone to all the stagedive-inducing, outstretched-palms euphoria that early sold-out shows have already proved Creeper masters of.
It’s all underpinned by soaring vocal harmonies and three-chord melodies which leave the group sitting very clearly below Alkaline Trio and early AFI on the family tree, but it’s nevertheless refreshing to see a band of this ilk lift influence from somewhere other than New Found Glory and Blink-182, particularly when it’s executed with the kind of finesse that could see the Southampton group pitch up alongside their role models on festival bills of the not-too-distant future.
The jewel in Creeper’s crown comes at the EP’s close. While ‘Novena”s anthemic build and swells of grand piano may hint at the rock operatics of My Chemical Romance’s ‘The Black Parade’ era, it’s a brave and irregular side-step for an underground UK punk band to take, particularly on a debut release.
It’s this confidence that defines ‘Creeper’. While it may not be breaking any drastically new ground, that’s not always the point. This is perfectly executed punk rock, and an exorcism that hints at one hell of an afterlife.