American Noir (2021) | Review
by Vicky Groff-Pierce
Many moons have passed since Southampton-born band Creeper dropped their iconic debut album, Eternity, In Your Arms (2017), leaving the pop-rock scene bound and speechless. Exactly 10 years too late for the boom of emo music (we remember those times when My Chemical Romance became the cool anthem of the uncool kids), Creeper brought a breath of fresh, goth air into the alleyways of commercial pop-rock. They simply did it like no one else. And, what’s more, they did it on a UK stage, far away from Universal Music US, far away from where the other rock bands (screamo, hardcore, emo rock) were experimenting and selling their records. But the American temptation arrives for them all in the end, and the new album American Noir (2021) is proof of that tragedy.
Exactly 10 years too late for the boom of emo music, Creeper brought a breath of fresh, goth air into the alleyways of commercial pop-rock.
The first track, ‘Midnight Militia,’ kicks off with a spoken storytelling, introducing us to the track-by-track rock saga the band is going for. The sung story follows the alien character Roe, who (spoilers!) meets their death at the end of the album. Perhaps there is a bit too much flirting with the American dream on behalf of the band, explicit in tracks like ‘America At Night’: She's Coca-Cola red / And I'm Pepsi-Cola blue / In the land of the free / I'm a prisoner for you. When all hope seems lost, a song like ‘Midnight’ still breathes true Creeper – perhaps even a bit of Sundara Karma, with charming vocal twists and turns by leader singer Will Gould. It reminds us of the good old days in which Creeper were astonishing, and not just above average.
At the end of the LP, I am left with a bittersweet taste in my mouth. Creeper have strayed far from their enchanting, original music of LP Eternity and EP Creeper, both conceived when, for the band, there was no stardom in sight.