Southampton rockers Creeper have always had a flair for the dramatic. Their debut album Eternity, In Your Arms served as the band’s creative pinnacle. It elevated Creeper to arenas, international festivals and sold out world tours. Evidently, things that burn bright are the fastest to burn out. And in 2017, Creeper burned very bright.
At the packed headline show at London's KOKO, they announced their breakup. Though the move was shocking for the media and heartbreaking for the audience, it allowed Creeper to finally get a space to breathe, sort out their personal lives, and work on the next album in peace. A year-long hiatus isn’t much, but for their predominantly young fanbase, it felt like a lifetime.
Sex, Death & The Infinite Void came out in 2020 to a mixed reaction. Some were thrilled about the album and their favourite band being back, others noted that Creeper's initial spark wasn’t quite there anymore. In this sense, the new EP American Noir invites us into the ghostly SD&IV universe one last time, either to rediscover it anew or bid farewell to this era of Creeper.
American Noir is a heartfelt epilogue for the band's last LP revolving around star-crossed lovers Annabelle and Roe. Roe's death incites Annabelle's rage, sharply delivered by Hannah Greenwood in "Ghosts Over Calvary", then mournful defeat in "Damned and Doomed". In fact, some of Creeper's most touching songs, "Crickets" and "Four Years Ago", are the rare occasions where Greenwood steps out from behind the keys and in front of the microphone. On this EP, she confidently takes the central stage, her voice diving from raspy screaming à la Hole, or Plastic Hearts era Miley Cyrus, to quiet, delicate musings. Some of Creeper's tricks may have become repetitive and predictable, but whichever direction they take after the SD&IV cycle, they probably can't go wrong as long as there are plenty of Greenwood's vocal contributions.
The interludes create smooth transitions, guitar crescendos build a gorgeous cinematic effect, especially on the EP's centerpiece "America At Night" and the anthemic "One Of Us", which sounds a bit like Green Day. American Noir can be enjoyed as a standalone EP, but as the album's extension, it gets the balance for the story's conclusion just right.
Now it is time for the next chapter in Creeper's history, and even though it might not be coming soon, it will probably be worth the wait.