A start-to-finish classic, Creeper reinvent themselves spectaularly and do so in eye liner and spurred boots.
When Creeper faked their own death in 2018, they put a bullet in the head of what you loved, and relished in watching you mourn. With Hollywood now having breathed new life into its corpse, Creeper have blitzed past the notion of a “return to form” and raised the standard of reinvention. The Southampton locals have been reborn in glorious fashion among the bright lights and gin-soaked artistry of Tinsel Town with Sex, Death and The Infinite Void.
Simply put, this album is spectacular. Top to bottom, Creeper have produced something magical with Sex, Death and the Infinite Void. It is the word “vibe” incarnate, if your vibe happens to be dark, gothic lyrics, vocals like jagged candyfloss, jazz influences, and spoken word poetry. Each song is fresh, and varied, mostly dissimilar to anything the band have produced before and so tantalisingly new and exciting. A newfound American influence is present throughout, mingling with that classic British punk sound Creeper built themselves on, resulting in a wonderful cocktail of the two styles in what could only be likened to a vampire wearing a cowboy hat.
Every track on Sex, Death and the Infinite Void is filled with such depth, you can feel them in your chest, and before you know it, you’re welling up from the sheer force of the pre-chorus swells that Creeper have perfected. ‘Be My End’ opens the album with a statement of intent. The immensely catchy chorus, the sugary-sweet backing vocals, and the addictive delivery of the lyrics make for a song that’s damn-near impossible to not sing along to. ‘Born Cold’ follows, with it’s choir-esque chorus and infectious beat. Lead singer Will Gould’s vocal range is on full display in ‘Cyanide’, with soft whispers and rapturous highs accompanying the track’s ridiculously smooth transitions and bridges. ‘Anabelle’, possibly the most addictive single on the album, closes the section of Sex, Death and the Infinite Void that bares the most resemblance to Creeper’s old work, and does so spectacularly. It’s difficult not to get caught up in the boppy bass line that runs throughout, and the song’s resounding message of “God can’t save us / So let’s live like sinners” hits hard and is incredibly catchy to boot.
What follows next, however, is something that not even those most up-to-date with Creeper’s expansive universe could have expected. ‘Paradise’ marks Creeper’s transition into this gorgeous, Americana-soaked, John Wayne starring in a Tarantino film, sound. Gould crones like a drunken cowboy over a masterfully composed Western-influenced backing. ‘Poisoned Heart’, ‘Thorns of Love’ and ‘Four Years Ago’ would be as much as home in a cemetery as they would on the sunset-kissed open ranges of the Wild West. That much-adored punk style is not shunned entirely, however, with ‘Napalm Girls’ marrying mid 2010s pop-punk with a sexy drizzle of Joy Division-esque muted vocals and guitars.
At a svelte 39 minutes, 8 of which are taken up by spoken word, or the inclusion of ‘Born Cold’ (for what feels like the twentieth release of that song in just 9 months) Creeper offer only 30ish minutes of their new form. While each minute offers a taste of some new, different, varied aspect of their cutting-edge sound, like a jet-black and poisoned charcuterie board, I can’t help but want more. Not in the sense that the album left me dissatisfied, but more so that I want to gorge myself on more of what I’ve been given. I feel as though when my greatest complaint is that I just want seconds, you’ve cooked up something incredible.
Sex, Death and the Infinite Void is the perfect example of how to reinvent your band; growing a new tree from an old seed. There’s something for everyone on this album, from the stunning spoken word interludes to the soft and powerful ballads, and even those punky, vibrant celebrations of lust, love and friendship that open proceedings. Creeper’s impeccable mix of goth-rock anthems and crooning Western love songs is an absolute treat, and the definition of must-listen.
Sex, Death and the Infinite Void is available now through Roadrunner Records. Check out the video for ‘Be My End’ below!