Release Date: 31/07/2020
Record Label: Roadrunner Records
For Fans Of: Boston Manor, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, As It Is
Creeper fans will remember 1st November 2018 all too well. This was the night that frontman Will Gould unexpectedly announced to their adoring fans at London KOKO “not only is it the last show of this album, but it’s the last show that we’ll ever do”. For their passionate and heartbroken fanbase, a follow-up to 2017’s Eternity, In Your Arms looked impossible, but not to the band. Creeper, in all of their grandeur and playfulness, tricked us all but their sleight of hand very nearly became a reality amidst a period of great turbulence and unrest for the band. Sex, Death & The Infinite Void is the album that nearly never was, but with limitless potential for what it can be.
Sex, Death & The Infinite Void is a concept album set in the fictional town of Calvary Falls and is based loosely on the life of Gould, which he himself admits has been a difficult ride. Following the passing of his Mother’s partner, with his relationship on the brink of collapse, enduring ongoing issues with alcoholism, as well as bandmate Ian Miles’ mental health struggles, Gould threw himself into making this record. “Every part of my life was affected.” Gould admits, “The only way to make another Creeper record, as difficult as it was, was to smash Creeper to the ground.” The six-piece rebuilt the band and rebuilt their lives in the midst of emotional turmoil, pushing the boundaries even further than before and baring the scars from their various battles.
There’s a glamorous, cinematic, Hollywood vibe to Sex, Death & The Infinite Void that creates a larger than life feel to the record. ‘Annabelle’ is a track that is grand in every aspect, with an anthemic chorus, a vast vocal range with flawless harmonies, and a sound so big that it explodes out of speakers. ‘Born Cold’ and ‘Be My End’ are of similar stature and style, both with a rip-roaring engine under the hood matched by Creeper’s effortless ability and willingness to put the pedal to the metal. The brilliant ‘Napalm Girls’ is bubbling under the surface from the get-go, with a fiery, unstable energy that erupts with every chorus, in the most melodic and infectious of fashions.
Having been written in LA, with an apocalyptic romance theme fit for the big screen, there’s clear Americana musical and cultural influence throughout the record. ‘Paradise’ has a Rat Pack charm to it, ‘Poisoned Heart’ could easily be labelled modern country, while ‘Thorns Of Love’ is just one example of there being a hint of Roy Orbison to the record. Patricia Vanian, of Sisters of Mercy fame, features intermittently throughout the album providing both vocals and spoken word, akin to classic Meat Loaf tracks with a fun back-and-forth discourse taking place; ‘Four Years Ago’ perfectly captures this.
Sex, Death & The Infinite Void is glam punk rock, in a fashion like no other. However, at times this style can mask the melancholy and pain that resides within the soul of the album, a style that Creeper have perfected in their relatively short career already. On the track ‘Cyanide’, Gould sings “Modern love can feel like suicide” and describes falling in love as “kissing in the acid rain”, but the gang vocals and polished arrangement can make it easy to gloss over such sentiment in its core. There’s a rare moment on the record where all of the pain, difficulties, and challenges are laid bare in the most intimate, honest, and sincere of ways, on the final track ‘All My Friends’. “Everyone had gone home bar the assistant when I wrote this final song on the record. The assistant said I had to record it. I thought it was too personal but I played it to the rest of the band – including Ian – and they said it had to go on the album.” explains Gould, “It’s still a song I can’t listen to, but it wouldn’t be the album without it.”
Creeper rightly garnered a reputation as one of the most exciting, fresh and forward-thinking rock acts in the world when they burst onto the scene, so the excitement and anticipation surrounding Sex, Death & The Infinite Void is not only expected but it’s well-deserved. However, the overriding emotions when listening to the album are admiration, pride and relief. It’s not been an easy journey for the band by any stretch of the imagination, so to persevere and create such a daring and remarkable album is incredible. Give this record a spin, sing at the top of your lungs, and join them underneath the acid rain. Creeper have been resurrected, against the odds.
Recommended Track: ‘Napalm Girls’