EP Review: Creeper – American Noir

Release Date: July 30th, 2021

Creeper continues to exude magnificence on American Noir. The EP continues the story of doomed lovers Roe and Annabelle, focusing on Roe’s death and Annabelle’s grief. Similar to Sex, Death, & The Infinite Void, the record sees the band stepping even further away from their punk rock beginnings to embrace a varied, intricate sound and nurture their knack for creating fantastical worlds.

Creeper takes the theatricality of Sex, Death, & The Infinite Void and pushes it to another level. American Noir is a mini rock opera with sweeping power ballads and heartbreaking love songs. Once again, listeners are whisked away to Calvary Falls to see the tragic end of Roe and Annabelle. Over the course of 20 minutes, the record takes us on an emotional journey exploring the addictive highs of rebellious love and the devestating lows that come with death making the record more vulnerable, violent, and seductive than its predecessor.

Whereas the previous album had a hint of punk rock angst, American Noir is sweeter and revels in melancholy. Even during its bouncy, energetic moments, there’s an underlying sadness. Roe laments being alienated in the city of angels on the Bowie-esque “America at Night,” while the upbeat “Ghosts Over Calvary” sees Annabelle accepting her tragic fate. Closing ballad “Damned and Doomed” is a heartbreaking send-off from Annabelle as she embraces Roe one final time. Because the EP focuses on loss and death, there’s more weight to it. It hits you differently. It doesn’t punch you with its fury. It strikes you with its pain.

Annabelle and Roe may be our protagonists, but the real star is Hannah Greenwood. Ever since “Crickets” fans have clamored to hear more lead vocals from the keyboardist. Here, she takes center stage. Her breathy vocals on “Damned and Doomed” are chilling and will bring you to tears, while “Midnight” fully utilize her range for a passionate, defiant performance. Greenwood’s vocals can stand on their own, but they’re even more radiant paired with frontman Will Gould. Greenwood and Gould are dynamic together. They have a seductive and charismatic chemistry that makes Annabelle and Roe that much more believable. They fully embody the characters with only their voices. Finally, Greenwood fully embraces the spotlight where she’s always belonged.

After Sex, Death, & The Infinite Void it seemed impossible for Creeper to top themselves. Yet, they did just that with American Noir. Though it’s a companion album to that album, the EP firmly stands on its own. It’s a beautiful, haunting, and tragic record that shows how much Creeper has evolved in a short amount of time. This is no longer a band bounded by their punk rock roots. This is a fearless band without limitations.

Creeper - American Noir
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Ashley Perez Hollingsworth

Ashley Perez is a freelance music journalist based in Chicago. Her work has appeared on AXS, The Crypt 1331, Chicago Innerview, New City, The Millions, and Reality-Comics. She also runs her own music blog at Radio Not Found. Some of her favorite bands include Nirvana, The Cure, Muse, Creeper, and Green Day.

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