OK, so we know it wasn’t really an album proper. Creeper’s left overs from the Sex, Death & The Infinite Void album came out on the Mini LP American Noir back in the summer. Technically more an EP (five songs proper) if you discount the three short atmospheric instrumental pieces. When it first surfaced in late May, sneak peek single Midnight got all the momentum up and running for their headline set at Download Pilot Festival and a return to the stage.
After the ‘So 2021 it hurts’ spoken word intro American Militia (see also Lilith Czar’s opener and all that stuff Self Esteem has been up to) Midnight hit the ground power grabbing. I’ve been known to belt out that “Oh ho Boy, Don’t you look at me that way” line while listening on headphone and hoovering. Much to my wife’s confusion that I must be singing to the dog.
On track three the pace dropped to a lilting piano for America At Night. With it’s duet switch hit vocals, its string soaked chorus of “Here comes the dark” and a lot of My Chemical Romance’s best moves. All the while the band get to play at being Brian May or Pete Way (depending where you come in). On the EP’s sleeve then band all get to dress in a unique style. Be it stripey gangster suit, tartan double breasted jacket or bandages and a US flag, there’s a lot of looks going on. Each one as melodramatic as the other. They’re like a goth Village People. You could boil them down to Planet Dune’s Spice Girls. Corpse Bride or Burgundy suit and face paint. You’re in it for the gothy camp and the choruses are to die for.
It’s track 4 that really lets Hannah lead the charge. Ghosts Over Calvary is a mid-tempo 80’s soaked piece of power pop. While she’s singing about “All the prettiest Boys and Girls flirt with death” a chorus that would put Bonnie Tyler on the back foot is waiting in the wings. There’s a moment in one of the talky parts of the song where Hannah pronounces “Heaven Welcomes You and Me Love” in a way that (must be) a deliberate soundalike to “You and Meatloaf“! It works because for all the claims of “Evil running through my veins” this is feel good rock and roll. She is a bright shining star.
After Hannah’s showcase song on Ghosts comes the dirge and fuzz of incidental music that makes up The Drowning Room. In all honesty it works as an intro to One Of Us and nobody would have noticed if it wasn’t just the start of the song. Will is back singing lead vocal and he’s vamping it up again over slo-mo power chords and a reverb drenched chorus. Only Taylor Momsen’s lost stepchild of a torch song Damned And Doomed and the Carpenter-esque Frozen Room outro remain before they’re gone for another year.
Or until Halloween at least.