Is ‘witch house’ still a thing? Has it actually ever been? Did it even exist? At least, Wikipedia said so. And from a few of the listed names – HOLY OTHER, OOOOO – we already heard of. But in the end it might have been a big bluff and a desperate attempt to create another hyped genre out of something that never really wanted to be described. Although you can clearly sense the ‘witch’ factor in terms of a haunting, ghostly atmosphere the ‘house’ one always seemed a bit out of place. This isn’t music do dance to, not even in a dark goth club. Lauren Dillard and Lauren Flax are well aware of this fact – they are CREEP and their debut album Echoes is a truly beautiful piece of dark sensuality.
Why even starting with the ‘witch house’ intro you might ask? Well, from early on these two have been associated with that vague genre. Since 2010 the duo released various solo singles, already creating a little buzz in the blogosphere. And when we thought it would actually never happen, here it comes finally – the first full-length longplayer by CREEP. And feels a bit like these two just needed the right amount of collaborators to join them. The result of that patience is not only a haunting record, it’s an impressive list of guest vocalists. Romy from THE XX, trip-hop legends TRICKY and Lou Rhodes (LAMB), SIA and Andrew Wyatt from MIIKE SNOW are just a few of the names on Echoes. Ten songs, ten adventures.
Somewhere between gothic, r’n’b, trip-hop, ambient and dark wave CREEP created a sound that works as the perfect musical environment for their guests. From the creepy intro track with PLANNINGTOROCK to the soft Vertigo and it’s TRENTEMØLLER-like wave guitars in combination with Rhodes’ tender and echoed voice. The mood is set. Echoes takes us deep into the dark of the night. Shimmering lights, vague silhouettes and cold air mark the scenario. But ever here and there single moments shed some light on the dark setting. The big string patterns in The Key are an example. And even Andew Wyatt’s dark piano play in Empty Chrch. CREEP are celebrating the beauty of darkness, exploring it musically in many different ways. From the dark trip-hop-moments of Call Her – which gets even darker once the legendary TRICKY starts his part – to tracks like You and Jessica King which could easily be described as ‘goth r’n’b’ (and here we have another new genre creation).
Flax and Dillard combine epic string pads with dry 808 beats, sensuality with a certain nightmare-effect. But they understood how to create a coherent and fascinating record. And when SIA closes the longplayer with the morbid but hopeful epic lullaby Dim The Lights you can’t help but feeling comforted at all. If you like good dark music and if you don’t give a thing on certain ‘genre’ specifications you’ll highly enjoy Echoes. CREEP produced one of the most surprising and entertaining debut albums of 2013. Without any witchcraft, just with their talent.