Review: The Creepshow – Life After Death
THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY MUSIC NEWS.
It’s not often that a band’s entire future hinges on a viral video, yet for The Creepshow, the success of a particularly famous Gotye cover version almost destroyed the band for good. On the eve of a European tour, their singer Sara Blackwood – one fifth of that YouTube hit – walked out to join Walk Off The Earth, leaving the rest of the group frantically searching for a replacement.
That saviour came in the form of Kenda Legapsi, a long term friend of the band who had the guts to take centre stage, and the resulting tour was a resounding success, prompting the band to get back in the studio to begin work on this – their fourth studio album.
Beginning not with The Reverend’s usual sermon, but with the not-too-subtle sound of ‘the machine that goes ping’, it is nevertheless not long before its business as usual, tying the band’s Halloween vibe and rockabilly swagger into blistering knots for the album’s brief thirty-two minute run time.
For much of the record, there’s a definite ‘if it ain’t broke’ mentality in place – a band who know they do what they do so darn well, that they give their loyal fanbase exactly what they want – and nowhere is this more apparent than in recent single Sinners & Saints. Seriously, whoever decided that organs, double bass and punk rock are a great mix deserves a knighthood, and The Creepshow excel at this fusion.
That’s not to say there’s no room for experimentation. Born To Lose in particular, goes to places the band have never quite been before, with a full blown rock-n-roll duet that manages to include elements of glam rock and even a singalong 80s style chorus.
There’s also one of their closest homages to the genre’s 50s roots yet with The Devil’s Son, which could almost be a lost Johnnie Ray or Little Richard track if it wasn’t so darn noisy, in the best possible way! The track actually harks back to Kenda’s pre-Creepshow days, first appearing in her live sets three years ago, which perhaps goes someway towards explaining why she was the perfect choice for the band’s third lead singer!
Yet by the time the delightful ska-tinged Last Call arrives, surely destined to go down in the annals of the very best drinking songs, it’s clear there’s a white elephant in the room, and the happy-go-lucky vibes that surround their tongue-in-cheek macabre needs to be temporarily put aside, whilst the issue of THAT breakup is addressed.
At the time, the band were nothing but positive in public, wishing their former singer well as she went off around the world with her new family, but the defiant lyrics of the last few tracks here – together with a recent statement from bassist Sickboy that “NO-ONE is going to take away what we’ve built with this band” all seem to suggest her departure was not as rosy as it first appeared.
Take It Away appears to directly reference Blackwood, suggesting she almost destroyed everything but the band refused to lie down and accept their fate, with lyrics like: “You tricked yourself about the blood on your hands/Now the gun’s loaded and we know where you stand/Picked our pockets and you left us some gruel/Now you’re just somebody that I used to know…”
The lyrical theme continues, with the even more venomous Can’t Wait To See You Fall (“Picked you up, dusted you off, made you who you are/But now we’d give it all to see you fall”), and is made all the more powerful by giving each band member a moment in the spotlight, including slap bass breakdown, Hammond squizzling, guitar twiddling and Kenda’s finest vocal point on the album – so great, in fact, that the music just stops for a moment to appreciate it.
Yet despite the apparent venom, real or not, the final song – and the album’s title track – acts as a mission statement as much as it is an album highlight. “We don’t want to talk about it anymore,” the band sing, “So let us do what we were meant to do once more.” Truly it seems, that’s the case.
Life After Death may be short, and it may be sorely lacking a ballad moment – which the band previously excelled at – but what is there is bold, energetic, and does exactly what it says on the tin. With no regrets, and the past firmly behind them, The Creepshow are back to what they do best – making great music that’s filled with fun. Long may they continue.
Life After Death is released on Monday, October 21st. You can see the grisly video to second single, The Devil’s Son below.