It’s not unreasonable to have a sense of pride when looking upon the rise and rise of Creeper. After all, this is a band who have only three EPs to their name at this point, and have yet to have a bad word said against them by virtually anyone. Coupled with mainstream radio play and a naturally cultivated fanbase that’s only getting bigger, all while playing to their own rules and not bending over backwards to fit what’s popular, and you could easily make a claim for Creeper being the biggest success story that rock has had in years. And now we come to Eternity, In Your Arms, the full stop on Creeper’s ‘rising star’ prefix that’s set to blow the doors off and make them bona fide icons. And with the buildup that’s spanned a good half a year, as well as crafting their own intricate mythos around the disappearance of paranormalist James Scythe and his association with the figure of The Stranger, this final product simply can’t afford to fail. They’ve worked too hard for that to be the case.
But honestly, was there ever any danger of that? Creeper have been three for three with their releases in the past, and Eternity, In Your Arms couldn’t be less different, the glittering, dark-hearted jewel in their crown that lays waste to any ceilings left above them as it undoubtedly launches them into the stratosphere. If anymore proof was needed that Creeper are a truly special band, Eternity, In Your Arms is as emphatic as you’re going to get. The best place to start in this case is the vocals, and while Will Gould has consistently improved as a singer across Creeper’s releases, this is by far the peak of his powers, incorporating yet more influences into his repertoire, and allowing the full extent of his range to come forward on this wider canvas, from the big, theatrical gesticulations of singles Suzanne and Hiding With Boys to the quiet somberness of the returning Misery which has lost none of its beauty or elegance even after twelve months. Perhaps the biggest surprise comes in the promotion of keyboardist Hannah Greenwood to part-time vocalist, and while she’s only given two tracks to really show her abilities, the dynamic she brings to the band is phenomenal, whether it’s the haunting spoken word intro of Black Rain, or the skin-pricking Crickets with its dark folk sway and a raw yet lonely intensity to Greenwood’s vocals that sounds absolutely perfect. Factor in her subtle beds of keys that provide the real dramatic undercoat for this album, and she easily proves herself as a truly invaluable member of this band.
As for the instrumentation on the whole, Eternity, In Your Arms serves as the next logical step of Creeper moving away from pure punk into more theatrical, grandiose territory, factoring in the sounds of acts like Meat Loaf and My Chemical Romance, and tempering them with the Alkaline Trio and AFI worship that they’ve made so vocal in the past. And while this has long been Creeper’s forte, as with virtually every other element of this sound, Eternity, In Your Arms sharpens this to its finest point yet. Tracks like Darling and Down Below are anchored in bounding, melodic punk with those dramatic accentuations just floating around the edges, and even while Poison Pens is a callback to the band’s hardcore roots, it still manages to augment itself in the same way with sweeping, gothic opulence and a very prominent ’80s influence. If a film like The Breakfast Club was directed by Tim Burton, Eternity, In Your Arms wouldn’t seem out of place as the soundtrack at all.
And the thing is, The Breakfast Club isn’t just a random pick either, as Eternity, In Your Arms is as deeply entrenched in the coming-of-age mould as you’re likely to get, outlining the tumult of the traditional ‘outcasts in love’ story, but feeling more authentic and lived-in than virtually anyone else who’s tried a similar thing. It’s a much more fleshed-out portrayal too, with each individual vignette serving as a fully-functioning character study in its own right – the flighty rebel without a cause (Hiding With Boys); the jilted, distant ex-lover (Crickets); the doomed couple at the end of the world (Darling); the remorseful victim of heartbreak (Misery). It’s drama that never seeps into melodrama, meaning that there’s always something tangible about this album that pretty much always sticks.
So does that mean Eternity, In Your Arms is that rare perfect album? Well, no – Room 309 is only pretty good compared to how stellar everything else is, but this is still the closest that any album has come to that in a long time. By this point, Creeper are embracing every single thing that’s great about rock music – cleverness, relatability, a larger-than-life sensibility and killer songwriting skills – and maximising their impact to a degree that surpasses any and all competition by a ridiculous degree. Creeper might already be picking up traction naturally, but this is that final push into household name territory. And right now, that’s essentially a guarantee.
For fans of: AFI, Meat Loaf, My Chemical Romance
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Eternity, In Your Arms’ by Creeper is released on 24th March on Roadrunner Records.