It’s only been two years since Ontario’s The Creepshow released their last album, but as fans will no doubt agree, the wait has felt much, much longer. During those years frontwoman Sarah “Sin” Blackwood teased fans with two solid solo country/folk outings that saw Blackwood grow and mature as a songwriter. By her second outing she came to embody the confidence and vocal prowess some may argue was lacking when she first took over lead vocal duties from her sister. Needless to say, when the psychobilly frontrunners announced their return to the studio for their long overdue follow-up, They All Fall Down, the tension had reached critical mass as fans waited with baited breath.
As someone who has always enjoyed The Creepshow’s energizing brand of horror, I couldn’t be more pleased with the results. They All Fall Down is the album that The Creepshow has been working towards for the past five years. While certainly not a radical departure from the band’s origins, all eleven tracks reach out with enough hell-bent clarity and unearthly energy that should find listeners eagerly dancing their way six feet under. On that note, the band has finally overcome their zombie origins, tastefully turning out tunes of terror that reach far beyond face value. They don’t stray from what they know, but speak with a new sense of metaphoric purpose.
They All Fall Down opens with “The Sermon III,” a spoken word reading that has become somewhat of a Creepshow tradition. But while the spot was previously reserved as a warning, this time the passage thematically sets the tone for the entire record. Elaborating upon the cover’s boxing scene, Sean “Sickboy” McNab warns of embracing a life of anger and revenge, likening a losing match and an emptying corner to that of an obsession that ultimately drives those closest away, replacing them with a crowd of shallow, likeminded opportunists ready to desert you upon the first unfavourable blow. The sentiment continues across most of the record, with lines like “you’re gonna get what’s coming” found immediately thereafter in “Get What’s Coming,” and “you’re on a road to self destruction, maybe one day you will see, you’ve become your own worst enemy” popping up several tracks later in “Dusk Till Dawn.” There’s no sense of salvation here, only shallow egoists succumbing to the fate they deserve, and a twisted sense of justice.
Musically They All Fall Down boasts some of the best punked-up atmosphere in modern psychobilly. NcNab has never plucked his upright bass so richly, and Kristian “The Reverend” McGinty’s keys offer up a subtle atmosphere. When feeding their classic fast-paced personae as per “Road To Nowhere,” McGinty and McNab harmonize for some of their biggest backing vocals to date, an effect sure to make these tunes instant crowd pleasers.
And of course Blackwood’s smokey voice rounds out the whole affair. She’s unmistakable at this point, and sings with a confidence that should ease up those initial Horrorpops comparisons. For starters, she’s versatile, matching whatever the boys throw her way. When they’re light and peppy, as per “Last Chance,” she can sound confidently cute. When they’re forming a smooth 50’s drive-in theatre vibe, like those found in the Nim Vind/The Epidemic-esque do-wop “Sleep Tight”, she’s as slick as the grease keeping McNab’s hair high. And when McGinty reaches back to his ska days and bares some brass in the rock ‘n roll race to the bottom that is “Hellbound,” Blackwood bounces along effortlessly.
At this pointing the game The Creepshow can do no wrong. They might not have the most original premise, but their growing thematic awareness and tight melodies make for one hell of a psychobilly romp with little to no equal. A must have for creeps and punks alike.
The Creepshow return with another solid album in the form of their 3rd ful-length release, “They All Fall Down.” For those of you who don’t know them, The Creepshow are a female fronted Psychobilly band from Ontario, Canada. Their sound is similar to a sped up version of The Horropops circa “Hell Yeah!” with some keyboards thrown in.
Lead vocalist Sarah Sin’s voice has never sounded better and as a band The Creepshow are showing maturity in the songwriting process. The horror movie themed lyrics that are common in the Psychobilly genre are mostly gone, having been replaced by songs about life on the road (Hellbound), Running from the law (Someday) and revenge (Get What’s Coming). One notable exception is the disc’s stand out track “Sleep Tight”. In a song that sounds like something you would hear in a 1960’s high school dance, Sarah Sin tells a story of a woman who is murdered by her boyfriend and then sticks around to watch him with “undead eyes”. The rest of the songs are fast and overall enjoyable, making this my favorite of The Creepshow’s releases.
My only negatives are that a couple of these new songs sound a lot like some of the older ones but other than that this is a positive step for a band that I hope will be a round for a long time to come.
On a slight side note, if you are a big fan of Sarah Sin’s voice, you might want to check out some of her solo work. She has released two cd’s in the country/folk genre under her real name, Sarah Blackwood.
Kenda: vocals, guitar
Sean Sickboy McNab: bass, vocals
The Reverend McGinty: keyboards, vocals
Alejandro 'Pituko': drums
Chuck Coles: guitar
Ian Blackwood: backing vocals
The Dreadnoughts: backing vocals
Cover and illustration by Gary Pullin
Layout by Ashlea Wessel
Photography by Ashlea Wessel
Matt Pomade: keyboards
Written by The Creepshow
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Steve Rizun
Recorded at Drive Studios