A collage of punk ideals, childlike wonder and grim fairytales.
Label: Roadrunner Records
Released: 19th February 2016
‘The Callous Heart’ was a glorious record of escape. It saw Creeper throw out an invitation to join their gang with big songs about bigger unity and, well, it was hard to say no. ‘The Stranger’, a sequel in-kind, deals with the aftermath.
Opening with the mournful procession of ‘The Secret Society’, the band soon launch into sky-high chants of “because we’re young” alongside admissions that “The Callous Heart rose and fell,” and “we don’t feel anything”. Front to the back, Creeper are building something new.
From the sleeping beauty of ‘Black Mass’ through the open-book confession of ‘Misery’ until the final defeated moments of ‘Astral Projections’, ‘The Stranger’ cuts deeper, is darker and more striking that anything the band have gone near before. It’s in those shadows that Creeper flourish. The record may deal in defeat but ‘The Stranger’ is nothing but a triumph.
In previous outings, Creeper has led the way in forward motion but with ‘The Stranger’, there are more echoes than commands. Instead of short, sharp bursts of inspiration; this record allows the band to paint their narrative across five distinctive but cohesive chapters. Rather than just messages to relate to, ‘The Stranger’ truly represents a world to get lost in.
Seeped in wistful romance, the record is a rose-tinted look at the past from the solitude of the gloom. There’s a sense of closure to ‘The Stranger’: Loves lost and found. However, in amongst the misery, the paralysis and the lows, there’s a glimmering sense of hope. An all-in-this-together mentality that sees Creeper take their stock and trade of unifying anthems and cut them with brand new ideas and grander vision.
‘The Stranger’ is a collage of punk ideals, childlike wonder and grim fairytales. The pieces that make up the puzzle are glorious and intricate, held together with passion and good intentions. Taking a step back to see the sprawling horizon though and it’s clear that Creeper are looking at a much bigger picture. This is for forever; kept safe in that half dreaming space. Ali Shutler