The track, Something More, is available via:
27th August, 2018
WHEN thinking about Creature…
it seems their name is very apt! I will come to the topic of Grunge and grittier sounds in music but, before then, I am compelled to investigate bands whose live shows have mess, scramble and memorability; bands and the artists they take influence from; creating a unique sound; the music coming from Newcastle and the North East – I will look at Creature and where they might head. I am getting excited about bands again because, at the moment, there seems to be a revival (of sorts). I mentioned this when reviewing yesterday and it seems, in the North, this is especially true. Maybe bands have always been hot there but here, in the South, it is the solo artist that is ruling. I am not sure why there is this charge and revival but, in many ways, some of the artists of the mainstream, like IDLES, show a band are capable of delivering something meaningful and deep whilst being exciting. In the case of Creature; they have a great dynamic and sound that serves them very well. Their live shows have been celebrated for having so much energy, physicality and endeavour. They are tight-knit and professional but there is that electric spirit that runs through their bones which means you can never know what will happen. I see a few live artists but, to my mind, the most memorable gigs are ones where the sweat is dripping and the crowd are jumping. There is nothing like being part of a crowd that is surrendering to that moment; enraptured and caught by a white-hot flame of energy and music. If anything, the band are more interesting and exciting live than most acts working today. They have picked up great reviews and are a hugely popular act in the North East.
I will talk about music from that area of the country but, before moving on to something new, it is worth sticking with the subject of the live act. Most of us tend to listen to music from our laptops or phones and we do not often get to gigs. We are getting out less and less and it is a shame we are all too busy or tired to get out in the evening. A lot of us still get to gigs but I think more of us should make time to go and see an artist and blow away the cobwebs. That is what Creature do: their shows get into the blood and they can deliver a catchy and emphatic set that is a pretty good night out. I wonder whether they will come to areas like London and bring their music here. Right now, they have a great local following and it seems like they are in productive mood. I feel a lot of us do not go to gigs because we assume it will not be as good as on the record or it will be too expensive. There are venues that are expensive and it can be a pricey night out but, more and more, it is becoming possible to go and see gigs. Most venues do not charge that much to get through the door and, so long as you keep the beers to a minimum, it will not break the bank! The reason artists are allowed to exist and thrive is because of gigs and the support they get there. We know there is not a lot of money to be made from releasing music so it seems, more and more, the money comes from merchandise and gigs. Artists like Creature need people to come out and see them – one of the reasons they provide a stonking and sharp set. I know they will continue to play this year and are setting their sights on a productive and busy 2019.
Yesterday, I spoke about bands and how they are starting to claim back credit. I am going into this more later today but one of the reasons why bands are making a bit of a comeback is because decades like the 1990s are coming back to the fore. I feel more artists, solo at least, are borrowing from the 1980s but it seems the 1990s is striking a chord right now. Maybe it is the unity and togetherness the popular bands provided; the sheer quality that was coming out and the way we all felt back then. Popular culture was a lot more exciting and inspiring and I feel like music was in a much better state. Maybe I am being wrapped in nostalgia but I am excited there seems to be a nod to the 1990s and bands are integrating sounds from that time. Creature’s live sound has been compared to groups of the decade such as Nirvana and The Smashing Pumpkins. You get a gnarly and explosive set but it is the sophistication of the sounds that stand out. Creature do not simply turn the amps up and aimlessly slam. They have a great set of songs in their pocket that provides a fantastic show. It is always interesting seeing where artists take their influence and what goes into their fold. I have mentioned a couple of bands but, alongside them, there are godfathers of Grunge and Rock acts such as Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. Creature are influenced by Neil Young & Crazy Horse and modern acts like PUP. They have quite a nice mixture of influences that drive what they do but that is not to say they take too heavily from them. I am always compelled by the artists others are inspired by and how they approach their own music. You definitely get a sense of the heavy and raw with Creature but there is definite intelligence and emotional diversity.
You can tell they grew up around some heavyweights and were exposed to brilliant artists as children. You look at their influences and more and more of them are from the past. I wonder whether there are enough solid bands/artists in today’s music to really captivate and intrigue newcomers. Maybe the likes of Royal Blood and Foo Fighters (although they started life a long time ago) are still worthy but the new breed are a few years off from truly igniting upcoming musicians. We have some great bands coming through but still, more and more, artists are looking further back and following what they grew up on. Maybe that has the way it’s always been but it is interesting to note. I have said bands are starting to swing back but it might be a little time yet before they are as prominent as they were back in the 1990s. I wonder whether that is a reason why bands are less popular than they were. Because solo artists are taking more attention and focus, it is harder for modern bands to get heard and, because of that, other bands are taking inspiration from further back. This sound all negative and doomed but I am pleased artists like Creature are poking through strong and determined to be a success. The more and more we uncover and promote these bands, the stronger and more varied the scene becomes. I am seeing a lot of great groups showcase their material and there are many possible stars of the future. Creature set in their own niche but I feel, the more exposure and gigs they get, the more they will craft their own sound. I will talk about their unique edge but they will start to create more of a personality when more material comes. Being compared to other acts is great but those who remain and continue to evolve are those who break away from influences and go their own way.
It is hard to be unique in music and, in fact, there are very few that can claim to be associated with that word. Maybe artists have a little bit of individual character here and there but how many artists can you name that are impossible to compare with anyone else?! I feel there might be a few and, although it is not the most important thing, it is always impressive finding someone who is in their own league. I think Creature have a lot of original intent and movements and, in years to come, they will be associated with the word ‘unique’. Most bands starting out will look at the artists they grew up around and, naturally, that is going to define what they do and how they sound. Whilst there are some obvious influences when you hear Creature on the record and live; I feel they are already showing signs they want to detach from the legends they love and do their own thing. There is a lot to suggest they will be a nationwide force soon enough and the way to do that is to have those influences with them but be defined by their own minds. Their new single, Something More, puts you in a familiar space but there is something unusual and unexpected about the song. It is a complex and hard thing, I guess. I love to discover artists that I can bond with straight away and have some familiar notes. You can get on board with their music quicker and that nostalgia value is great. You also get to discover artists they are influenced by and check out their music – seeing where that band/artist comes from and what goes into making their sound. How easy is it, in 2018, to be unique and not be compared with anyone? I feel like it is unwise to be too out-there and on your own plain because that will alienate people and can be a huge gamble. Artists that have a balance of original thought and familiar influence are what we need to hear.
At the moment, Creature have a dizzying array of influences and favourite sounds and that leads to deep and colourful music. I feel future gigs and records will see some of that stripped away and a more focused and linear sound emerge. They have already proven themselves to be a tantalising and superb live act and, on their recordings, something new presents itself. I like how they can possess these different auras and not feel confused and contradictory. I will move on from this subject because I am keen to return to the North and what is coming from there. Yesterday, I looked at a band from Yorkshire and was determined to convey all the great music and sounds coming from there. I feel Yorkshire is a fantastic county that does not get the credit it deserves and has so many wonderful artists working there. The North East has always been in my mind and, historically, it has always been relevant. Maybe we pay more attention to the North West and areas like Manchester but we cannot ignore Newcastle. Current North East artists like Nadine Shah are in the minds of the mainstream and there is a distinct difference between artists from London and places like Newcastle. Maybe acts in the capital get more attention and there is great variation but, to me, Newcastle artists have more personality and flair. You get something spunkier and more personable; a better brew that lasts in the mind longer. Creature are starting to come into their own and, with each movement, pressing their own sound and forging their own direction. The trio are making waves and getting that great local press. I am interested to see how they progress but I wonder whether they will remain in the North East.
Newcastle and Sunderland have great venues are becoming more gentrified. That is not to say the authenticity is being taken away and the cities are losing what makes them great. Venues are surviving and more money is being injected into the areas; licks of paint are being applied here and there and, whilst not as gentrified and expensive as some areas of London; the North East is becoming a more attractive and profitable and local artists are remaining there. I wonder whether the media will spend adequate time seeking out artists from there and bringing them into the light. The likes of Creature are doing great things and getting buzz but it will take more national focus in order for them to get where they deserve. I still feel there are very few eyes straying to the North East and that has to change very soon. I know Creature will be a success very soon and they are growing stronger by the year. I am watching where they go and what they have in mind. Whilst I think they need to remain where they are and continue to seduce the local audiences; their tour plans will need to include cities like London and Manchester. It can be expensive getting out there and getting gigs but I know they have music that will be taken to heart by punters there. They are among the most interesting and promising new bands around and that needs to be rewarded. Perhaps all that is to come next year and I am sure the guys have plans to spread their wings and get out there. I have covered a lot of ground and spoken about various things and I think there is a lot of life in Creature. Their sounds rumble and get into the brain; they have emotional sophistication and intelligent lyrics that mark them above the rather basic and aimless bands. I will move on to their new song, Something More.
One gets little chance for breath and reflecting when Something More chugs away. Like a Grunge-Devil locomotive leaving the station with a fire burning in the back and steam billowing; the guitars churn and the percussion rifles. It is a bold and exhilarating opening that gets the blood running and make you wonder what is coming next. There are slight hints of Royal Blood in the guitar and Nirvana in the vocals but neither is too obvious – that combination works well and it provides a great blend of emotions and sounds. There is talk of evil love and it being wrong; the hero is looking for something different and it seems like a rather tense time is unfolding. I was instantly thinking about love going wrong and a painful split: the possibility of movement and improvement are at the back of the mind. If some of the vocals get buried beneath the composition and there are some intelligibility issues at times – path of the course for a Grunge band and that intensity – it is not a big factor. You get a really authentic blast of 1990s Grunge but it is modernised and bespoke to the tastes of Creature. They have ingested great bands and take a little of each on board. The tightness of their performances and the explosion of the composition get straight into the brain. The guitars weave and bite like vipers whilst the bass and percussion drive the song forward and create an avalanche. Something More is a song that wastes no time in getting under the skin and make you feel alive. I was picturing the hero being annoyed by a lover or feeling like they are taking too much from him. A need for something different and more substantial is on his mind. It seems like the lead has been looking for a reason to stay and looking deep inside his sweetheart. Maybe things are not over and it has been a hard road to realisation.
There have been problems and setbacks but our man has staying put and discovering something new. I love how the band manages to fuse gritty and fuzzy notes together with a more polished production. You have a professional shine – that does not take away from the music – but some real dirt that works its way through. The more the song goes on, my mind starts to look at this relationship and how things are progressing. It would be easy to walk away from something that is not perfect but that desire for something more keeps the hero pining and searching. With huge vocals and soaring words; combine that with chugging and rampant strings; throw in some meaty beats and a general feeling of dark smoke and you have a song that keeps on biting and seducing. It looks like the hero wants things to work and they are going to make it. Whether wanting something more involves greater physicality or trust, I am not sure. Maybe there is greater complexity at the heart of the relationship. You definitely get hints of the 1990s and early-2000s in the vocal and song. Bits of Linkin Park mix in with the influences Creature name. It is a great sound that comes together and, although there are some influences working away, the trio manages to create something that is true to them and new. Certainty, in 2018, there are not many bands in the mainstream that have such a dramatic and impressive sound that offers more than easy riffs and vague lyrics. You get a sense of wisdom and maturity in the words and the band has taken the trouble to craft a composition that has nuance and depth. There is definite sexiness and sweat to be found in the lyrics. The hero wants to fill the space inside the girl – nobody does it like her – and he wants to feel more connected. You feel there is palpable electricity and lust working away but there is enough emotional maturity to ensure the song does not get too smutty.
The more it continues and the more you get involved; the more beauty and pleasure come to the fore. Creature throw in great little diversions and ensure the song is never predictable. It changes direction and attacks; it stops for a second and throws in some backing vocals. By the end of the song, your head is all over the place and it has been an exhilarating ride. I went back and listened to the song and got something new on that occasion. Something More reveals new skin and insight the more you listen and that is a mark of a great band. With great lyrics that are easy to understand but offer mystery and interpretation; a composition that takes the body and heart and does something strange with them – it is a fantastic cocktail that gets into every pore and does something fantastic. It is wonderful hearing the song come together and alive. I can only imagine what it sounds like on the stage and can imagine it is not as clean as it is on the record. The band have the option of being professional and disciplined musicians who can write brilliant songs but can strip them apart and open them up on the stage. It will be wonderful to see them play and I hope I get to see them play Something More if they come down to London. Whatever the truth behind the song is; I have been getting to grips with it and discovering a fantastic new band in the process. If you are not aware of the wonders of Creature and what they do then ensure you follow them closely and see where they head next. They are already proving they have the muscle and talent to go a very long way in the industry – I know they will continue to improve and grow as we go into 2019. An exciting and brilliant time for a fantastic northern band!
There is a lot to be excited about when it comes to Creature. Listen to their single and, if you can, get involved with their live shows and go see them. Check out their social media channels and follow where they head next. They have local gigs coming and, at the moment, they are promoting Something More. Many journalists have expressed their support and love for them and it seems they are hitting their stride. I wonder whether there will be more material coming next year and what the trio have in mind. I feel, based on their latest release, there is a lot of energy and inspiration in the camp. It is clear the band want to go far and have that great mix of older bands and modern influence. I have asked whether it is possible to be unique in this age and what the right balance is. You can hear everyone from Nirvana and Neil Young is the work of Creature and that mixes with the trio’s unique blends. Put that together and you get an intense and busy style of music that will appeal to a variety of tastes and ages. Let’s look ahead and see where Creature will go. I would like to see them get down to London and try and get some gigs in other areas of the nation. I think their sound travels well and they could find success at some bigger venues down here. The reviews for their live sets mark them as ones to watch and I feel that is something they should be proud of. With many people resisting the temptation to get out to gigs and spend money at venues; I feel the likes of Creature have an important role to play. I have not seen them perform but I would definitely be interested if they came down to the South. Listening to what they are producing now and you feel Creature will keep on making music and growing.
The connection and chemistry they have is what shines and sparks. I did not mention it further up when looking at what they do but you can hear how close they are. I can hear a lot of bands where you know the balance is off and they are not on the same page. Look at what Creature are throwing out and they definitely have a closeness and kinship that makes their music so solid. Make sure you check out the band and follow their movements. It has been a busy and productive year for them and I know next year will be even bigger. If anything, I hope more people cast their eyes to the North and take a greater interest in artists up here. There is nothing to suggest the area will remain dormant in the critical mindset and we will hook onto London. The more great acts coming from there the easier it will be for the national media to break away from the obvious and show a bit more boldness. In order for music to be diverse and all-inclusive; we all need to get out of our comfort zones and search other areas of the country. I know Newcastle and the North East have always been relevant and active but, with the media being largely based out of London, it is harder for artists in the North to get their due. Creature do not have to move location and compromise who they are in order to get ahead quicker. They have a great live sound and sound gilded and solid when in the studio. As bands come more to the fore and there is this change happening; it is the time for the likes of Creature to rise and bite. The intrepid trio has crafted a brilliant song in Something More and it hints at a very bright future. Get behind the guys and give them your support because, in a tough and busy music scene, they are a shining light. It may be a while before they hit the bigger leagues and get mainstream attention but, if they carry on like they are, they will make that transition…
WITHOUT many problems.