Cemetery Highrise Slum
The gloomy, distortion loving, sonic sauna that is Creepoid’s new record Cemetery Highrise Slum has made a home beneath my skin when I wasn’t paying attention. Such stealth, such persistence, the Philly band kept me coming back for more even before I had decided I liked what I was hearing. They’re an acquired taste that got better after repeated exposures, like Prometheus, or kale. The same thing happen to me, recently, with the first Metz album. Maybe it’s the hypnotic drone and fuzzed out reverb that both bands harness that takes the brain a bit to wrap itself around. Only where Metz takes the Sonic Youth-ian feedback noise and cranks it up to 11, Creepoid drags it into a dream and turns sound into an ambient feeling much in the way Mazzy Star did, only a Mazzy Star that had Kurt Cobain stepping in on vocals.
The vocals are split between Sean Miller and Anna Troxell, though — like with the Pixies, who seem an obvious influence on the band — the brunt of the lead duties fall on the male side. This imbalance only serves in making the Anna-led songs sparkle all the more for their sparsity, as on the sensual underwater slowdance “Fingernails.” Anna’s dreamy, airy vocals are like a cool breeze in between Sean’s more foreboding presence.
On this, the band’s third — and most fully realized, album there are some actual standout singles. “American Smile,” “Devil in the Subtext,” and especially “Dried Out” could all be hit songs, and probably would have been back in the days when 120 Minutes reigned. Creepoid are bringing shoe gazing noise pop back beneath a heavy blanket of mope and dope. It’s dark, it’s dreamy, it’s melodic, and delicious and Cemetery Highrise Slum is an album many of us 90’s kids have been waiting for without having realized it. The nights of spacing out and getting lost in the pretty drone are back.