Creeper: Eternity, In Your Arms

Very rarely does a band completely consume my attention like Creeper does. I’ve admittedly only been listening to them for about three months, but in that short time, I’ve acquired their entire discography and listen to them on a daily basis.

It seems like I stumbled upon them at the perfect time, as their first full-length album, Eternity, In Your Arms, was released in late March of this year. In fact, my first dose of Creeper came from the song, “Hiding With Boys”, which was their second single off the album. Something about the mixture of horror punk imagery with pop punk lyrics and soaring choruses made their sound very digestible for me, as someone who comes from a┬ádiverse music background.

Eternity, In Your Arms holds nothing back. Awash in angst, heartbreak, and loneliness, this album throws you through alternating loops of ripping punk riffs and reticent bridges. Frontman, Will Gould, provides an equilibrium all throughout, then climbs into sweeping melodies over matching guitars to create these incredible earworm arena rock choruses. It also features a handful of songs that serve as well-placed breathers, one of which, “Misery”, we saw on their The Stranger EP. We also get to hear more of keyboardist, Hannah Greenwood, who serenades us with the emotional track, “Crickets”, and┬áprovides backing vocals on several other songs here.

I’m also quite pleased with whatever mixing magic they conjured up in the studio, because I have no trouble picking out the individual instruments as I listen to each song. It’s unfortunate that the bass guitar is historically infamous for getting buried under walls of guitar and drums, but in this case, both the bass and the keys are crystal clear, and that makes me happy. Support equal rights for bassists, man, they deserve to be heard.

I’ve heard more times than I can recall that Creeper is the future of rock music, and I have no trouble accepting that as fact. Having a catalog of 25 songs that can all stand on their own usually signifies that a band knows what they’re doing when they sit down to write new tunes. I wish nothing but success for these guys (and gal), and I trust they’ll continue to climb the ranks and whip up songs that end up wedged in my brain for days.

Wolfman Chuck And The Spookalele Of Doom: Another Confession

Wolfman Chuck became apparent to me when I first started writing acoustic horror punk music back in the first half of 2015. The concept of playing upbeat ukulele tunes underneath grotesque and offensive lyrics was something I’d never fathomed before, but I’m not ashamed to admit that it wasn’t long before I picked up my ukulele and started writing spooky songs as well. I even got the opportunity to do a split with him and Afterlife Love Machine in that same year. There’s something about the two paradoxical elements colliding in ukulele horror music that makes it so catchy and intriguing.

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Another Confession is Wolfman Chuck’s third full-length album, featuring ten new tracks you would expect from the keeper of the Spookalele himself, although in comparison to his previous works, some of the tunes deviate a bit from Chuck’s usual sound. While there’s no shortage of politically incorrect lyrics that would make your Catholic mother cry, instrumentally, we get to hear a little experimentation, which I think played overall in the album’s favor. The track, “Ballad Of Ronnie”, has a chord progression and strumming pattern that sounds like something yanked from the early 60s. Other songs like “Wolfman Chuck” and “Gore To The Whore” lure you in with a false sense of security before bludgeoning you upside the head with Chuck’s signature way with words. But my favorite track, “Rotten Pumpkins”, has a storyline so ridiculous that I can’t help but love it to death.

If you’re a diehard Chuck fan, this album won’t disappoint. It plays through nicely, and keeps your toes tapping and your neighbors at bay. The Wolfman continues to be a cornerstone in the horror punk community, and I can’t tell you how many other artists (including myself) that he’s influenced with his melodically vulgar tunes. If you wanna check this album out for yourself, or buy a physical copy of it, the links to his Bandcamp, Big Cartel, and Facebook are below.

https://ukulelehorror.bandcamp.com/album/another-confession

http://ukulelehorror.bigcartel.com/

https://www.facebook.com/UkuleleHorror/

The Love Witch: Besides The Sex And The Magic

A friend of mine has been praising The Love Witch since the trailer was first released. She sent it (the trailer) to me several months ago, and I thought it seemed promising, though it’s not of my usual element. Directed by indie American filmmaker, Anna Biller, the occult themes and retro 60s-inspired imagery undeniably reeled in my attention, however, and I finally decided to sit down and view it this morning.

My writing is usually finicky and sporadic, but upon indulging in this film, I felt I should try my hand at a movie analysis. For me, what I found fascinating wasn’t necessarily the witchcraft or the plethora of nudity or the obviously stunning main character, Elaine Parks (Samantha Robinson), but all of the underlying messages going on throughout the movie. Now, I could be way off about a lot of this, but films are a form of art, and art is up for interpretation.

[Warning: Thar be spoilers beyond this point, matey. Dun say I didn’t warn ye.]

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The Love Witch, to me, is a story of mental illness. It’s made clear during one particular scene that both Elaine’s ex-husband and her father were verbally and emotionally abusive towards her and her physical appearance. Her coven is also partially to blame for her frame of mind as well, assuring her that a woman’s body is a tool for acquiring love from a man. Both of these factors undoubtedly caused her to begin objectifying herself, thinking that an attractive woman who’s willing to have sex immediately with another man is the way to get him to fall in love with her. While that’s something that does happen in certain cases, her eagerness to supplement the love she wasn’t given by the two major male figures in her life ends up being her downfall, as well as the downfall of the men she falls for.

Ms. Parks isn’t one to be shaken from her fantasies. In one of the initial scenes, she’s not afraid to admit to her fondness for fairy tales or her hopes for them to become real someday. She uses love magic as a means of trying to get these fantasies to come true, which seems to end in the death of her lover in one way or another. One crucial scene towards the end almost literally portrays Griff as her “Prince Charming”, complete with a fake medieval wedding after riding on horseback. And to no surprise, the leaders of her coven are there, as if to continue feeding these fantasies of hers. The internal monologues at the end of this scene, however, tear the entire thing in half and hint at the travesty that’s bound to unfold.

As a guy, I thought it would be interesting to note my personal reaction here to Elaine from beginning to end. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that she could cast a spell on me any day (although maybe not, considering the fates that befall her lovers), but I also felt a gnawing sense of unease about her too. I think this unease is also felt by the men she seduces, but as soon as the clothes come off, all of that gets defenestrated post-haste. However, as the movie goes on, her ability to create this indifference (at least for me) faded, and the physical attraction was replaced by discomfort. The final scene where she blankly stabs Griff to death after he fails to accept her advance made me realize the tables had turned completely. In short, I think I’ll take a pass on that spell after all.

Love is not something that happens automatically, and I think that’s one of the main messages that makes this movie stand out to me. So many people, especially nowadays, confuse lust for love, and The Love Witch does a stellar job of illustrating this. More importantly, this film gave me a lot to think about concerning my own views on love, and if there’s one thing I love more than spells or a gorgeous witch that reminds me somewhat of Carolyn Jones’s Morticia, it’s a movie that makes me think.

Overall Rating: 8/10