American Noir is theatrical, poetic, and dark… but why expect anything else from Creeper, a band who have warned us before that they love an immersive story with a touch of the dramatic and twisted.
This EP can truly be moulded to what you’d like to hear, whether that’s the continuation of the story of Roe, or just a series of rock opera-esc bangers. Musically, American Noir is a natural step forward from Sex, Death and The Infinite Void, pushing boundaries a little further and implementing more synthesisers. There are moments where Creeper teases you with a soft Portishead-feeling intro or a sexy vaudevillian build up before breaking into the dramatic and emotional outburst that seems to be their trademark.
‘America At Night’, for example, starts with a swung time signature that is so unexpected that you cannot help but pay closer attention. The song then builds orchestrally without succumbing to the potential for excessive melodrama, integrating synths with softer drums, and it all melds really well.
It’s interesting to hear the new prominence of Hannah’s singing on this EP, especially in Midnight, a song that seems to disregard regular song structure in favour of a meandering series of sections building up to powerful belted chorus. Maybe it’s because Hannah’s voice is a lot softer, but there’s an uncomfortable contrast in the sharp edges and intonations of Will’s voice against hers. Because of this tenderness in her voice she often gets swallowed up by the melodrama which, I’m sure, is not what Creeper intended. Maybe Creeper just needs time to settle into the change and work out how to compose and produce so Hannah’s voice can fit more comfortably tonaly in the mix?
Slowly, however, your ear adjusts to the change and you are left considering; what musical and storytelling opportunities could this open up for the band? It’s clear that Creeper have started exploring new ways to immerse the listener into more intricate stories and complex instrumentals, and, after some adjustments, I’m all for it.
There are only a few uncomfortable moments on the EP- a few overly familiar lyrics and basic, almost childish rhymes- but part of the Creeper “experience” seems to be relinquishing power and committing to the immersive experience, so this isn’t necessarily a hindrance in enjoying the music.
Overall the EP is short. It’s just a taste of what Creeper are up to right now- a bridge into the next era- and it’s good. It’s a good EP. Maybe it’s the length, or maybe the songs are of a quality that just sits below their last release, but this EP is more exciting as a warning for the future than a representation of what Creeper can share today.