It’s become something of a rule of thumb that if an already great band gives a new act the green light, that act is more than likely to be great too. And at this point, Creeper have earned more than enough goodwill from the masses to take their opinions as gospel, particularly when their upcoming UK tour is fleshed out by Milk Teeth and Puppy. But the name that’s likely to be the most unfamiliar on that bill is Energy, the Massachusetts punks formed way back in 2006, but looking to make an emphatic impression overseas with their new album Apparition Sound.
And straight away, it’s easy to see how Energy will appeal to fans of Creeper – hook-laden, melodic punk is the order of the day with a notable penchant for the macabre. Compared to Creeper though, these influences are a lot more prominent, leading to a situation akin to that of a band like Aiden, though where they tended to hit almost self-parodic levels of ludicrousness shoved in everyone’s faces thanks to both their music and image, Energy are a lot better with actual substance to back themselves up. At only eight tracks long (one of those being an instrumental opener) there isn’t too much at the minute to really sink into, but there’s enough promise on Apparition Sound to suggest that Energy are already an act worth getting excited about.
A large part of that is down to the work of frontman and primary songwriter Tank. As a vocalist, he’s very softly sung with a clear ear for a pop hook, and combined with some of the darker instrumental angles taken like the deep-set strings of They or the gothic post-hardcore of New Worlds Of Fear that often sounds like something that Atreyu would be all too happy to put their name on, it’s a potent mix, sometimes even more so than when Energy go down an overtly poppy route. It’s in these tracks especially that it’s easy to see exactly why Creeper have taken a shine to them; Dead In Dreamland has the omnipresent Beach Boys-style backing harmonies that will certainly make for a riotous amount of fun live, and their rendition of Pet Sematary has the exact amount of bounce and playfulness that any Ramones cover requires. The only real issue in terms of instrumentation is that, when placed next to each other, the transition between the poppier and darker tracks is too jarring to be cohesive; Energy are good at both, but not at the same time, and Apparition Sound doesn’t hold up as well as a full body of work because of that, and doesn’t feel completely formed to the extent that it could.
There’s a similar issue present in the lyrics too. While bands with a horror influence usually use these inspirations to mask a more conventional lyrical lilt and spice up subject matter that might otherwise be seen as played out, if Energy do that to any degree it’s hidden incredibly deep, as often these songs don’t seem to extend much beyond the actual lyrical text. The exceptions do stand out – They is probably the best example by being an ‘outcasts in love’ ballad that actually feels high stakes, and Another Yesterday takes a decent stab at a similar sort of thing. Beyond that though, trying to glean a subtextual meaning to some of these tracks feels like clutching at straws. Pet Sematary can be excused given how it’s a cover with the original written especially for the titular film, but get to The Infection or Dead In Dreamland and it’s harder to find something more weighty beneath what’s simply being said, especially the latter which attempts to conjure mental images of A Nightmare On Elm Street, but is played with such levity and cartoonish pep that it’s closer to Scooby-Doo.
With all of that in mind, it’s difficult to give Energy a wholehearted recommendation at this point, as there’s a few too many issues at the moment with Apparition Sound that prevents it from going over into real greatness. That said, there’s a charm to what Energy to do that makes them impossible to ignore, and despite this being an obviously flawed release, it’s enough to keep you coming back for more and waiting with baited breath for when they inevitably become something great. Moral of the story – when it comes to new bands, pay attention to what Creeper say. They know what they’re talking about.
For fans of: Creeper, Aiden, The Ramones
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Apparition Sound’ by Energy is released on 3rd February on Monster Party Records.