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Creepoid's 'Cemetery Highrise Slum' Is Definitely Worth A Listen

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When Creepoid’s lead vocalist, Sean Miller, described the Philadelphia-based band’s third album ‘Cemetery Highrise Slum’ as sounding like their debut album, he perfectly summed it up in many ways. Compared with 2014’s self-titled ‘Creepoid’ and 2012’s ‘Horse Heaven’, which are very different in themselves, ‘Cemetery Highrise Slum’ puts Creepoid in a new light.

Creepoid Album

Whilst their latest record is still very much their own, laden with a sense of gloom that is disguised by deceptively upbeat gaze and the distinctive vocals of bassist Anna Troxell and Miller, ‘Cemetery Highrise Slum’ marks a definite departure in sound. Creepoid have refined their sound by making it darker and, at times, a whole lot sludgier. There are undeniable 90s influences that seep through into the record yet by no means does Creepoid’s latest work stand as a tribute to shoegaze and grunge from before their time. Rather, they have perfectly curated an album that combines the stronger elements of ‘Creepoid’ and ‘Horse Heaven’ with an up to date take on shoegaze and punk sounds.

Album opener, “American Smile” introduces Creepoid’s new approach well. Though it is the album’s most upbeat track, it feels like one of the heavier songs off of their last album; demonstrating the depths into which Creepoid will plunge. With Miller crooning against a slow steadying drumming, ‘American Smile’ lingers on even after listening to the entire album. Not only does open the album on a strong note, it’s also indicative of Creepoid’s flair.

“Devil in the Subtext” has a vacant feel to it, in precisely the way it should. Whilst the ambience of “Fingernails” sees Troxell take charge of vocals for an unmissable highlight track. It stands out not only for its charm but also because it is one of the album’s slower moments. For this reason, it’s a great track to listen to in order to get to grips with the dynamism that’s at work in Creepoid’s sound. “Seams” follows on from this with its vacant eeriness and captivating guitar riff, before the album begins a descent into a fuzzier darker haze.

“Dried Out” sees Creepoid take a different direction towards a grungier sound, as Miller tears into the lyrics against a backdrop of somewhat mellowed out haze. Skipping ahead to the end of “Calamine”, Creepoid unleash a load of reverb that epitomizes that sense of gloom that the band gives off.  Following on, “Tell the Man” takes a more confrontational approach with its almost mocking vocals. Yet, whilst “Worthless and Pure” has a dizzy ethereal quality to it, it feels overshadowing by “Tell the Man” and the following track, “Eating Dirt”.

“Eating Dirt” starts off as gritty as its name suggests, before slumping into two minutes of metallized shoegaze. Closing track, “Here”, carries on where “Eating Dirt” drops off, gradually building itself up for a distorted and dramatic climax to end.

Creepoid close on a very different note to how they began. Whilst in some ways ‘Cemetery Highrise Slum’ feels like a progressive journey, the fact that “American Smiles” remains infectiously ingrained in the head, despite the sludgier tracks that follow, it is clear that Creepoid are pretty capable of manipulating sound from track to track, album to album, to work as they see fit.

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Words by Ellie Brown.