Creeper are the best new band in the UK at the minute. A bold claim perhaps, but a true one nonetheless. The Callous Heart is cold, hard proof of that. The Southampton quintet’s second EP (let that sink in for a moment – this is only their second EP) is five tracks of near-perfect, melodic punk rock that’s some of the best music of any genre you’re likely to hear this year.

Last year’s self-titled debut EP was impressive enough, but on The Callous Heart, everything’s been stepped up by an almost ridiculous amount. Sure, there are still tinges of AFI and Alkaline Trio here and there, but overall they’ve managed to divert the hero worship and find their own identity here. Will Gould has jettisoned the Matt Skiba impressions from their debut and developed his own vocal style this time round, a smooth, nuanced vocal that has a working knowledge of when and where to soar or turn down, especially on stunning closer Henley’s Ghost. The rest of the band are on fantastic form as well, dishing out rip-roaring punk like it was the easiest thing in the world.

And then we come to the songs, the true jewel in Creeper’s crown. Being impeccably crafted is one thing, but these are five songs that could’ve been written by a band many times their age, such is the level of maturity and sheer brilliance each one conveys. Black Cloud and The Honeymoon Suite are the kind of songs bands wait their whole careers to write, while the thunderous Lie Awake is just a masterpiece in three-and-a-half minutes. They’re not the first band to be doing this sort of thing by any means, but Creeper have already reached a level that only a handful have managed to equal.

Put all the pieces together and you’ve got The Callous Heart, the release that will undoubtedly define where Creeper go from here. And if everything goes right, that could be right to the very top of British rock’s ladder to become the biggest band in the country. There are definitely heavy hints that could be the case, and by the time they release a full-length, it could well be a game-changer.

9/10

For fans of: AFI, Alkaline Trio, Against Me!
Words by Luke Nuttall 

‘The Callous Heart’ by Creeper is released on 18th September on Roadrunner Records.

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