Sex, Death & the Infinite Void
2020 – Rock
English band Creeper’s second album, Sex, Death & The Infinite Void, is energizing, captivating and intriguing. An incredible rebirth for them.
During the last concert of the Eternity, in Your Arms album tour, Creeper’s vocalist, Will Gould, announced before the last song, “Not only is it the last show of this album, but it’s the last show that we’ll ever do.” For those who were already familiar with Rock, they easily recognized that speech. Word for word, it was the same thing that David Bowie said in Hammersmith Apollo on July 3, 1973, while he announced the death of his musical character Ziggy Stardust. After that, the band members went through numerous difficulties. While Ian Miles, the band’s guitarist, was hospitalized due to his fragile mental state, Gould faced the death and breakups. It was such a difficult period that it almost led to the end of the band. However, according to Will himself, it was the power of getting drunk and being able to create art that kept him going. Finally, two years after the supposed end of the band, Creeper releases their excellent second album, Sex, Death & the Infinite Void.
Breaking with the exaggerated horror-punk aesthetic of their first album, Sex, Death & the Infinite Void is born out of the desire to create an “American album.” In an interview with Clash Music, they said that because they were spending more and more time in the United States, they wanted to build an album that referred to American culture. They listed their influences: Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, T Rex and Cyndi Lauper. Without a doubt, you can hear each of these pieces. In a nutshell, Sex, Death & the Infinite Void is a complex project that sometimes sounds like a classic Rock album from the 70s and 80s. From the guitars, which ranges from romantic elements to violent protests, to the vocals, which seem came from the bottom of their lungs or represent something religious, everything works in the best possible way. Without a doubt, an energizing, captivating, dancing and intriguing album that, even with generic moments, manages to be a unique and striking piece. Sex, Death & the Infinite Void is perfect rebirth for the Creeper.
However, the album is not just a collection of rock songs influenced by the biggest names in music, but a story about maturity and eccentric romance. During the first tracks of the album, we are introduced to Roe, a character inspired by Bowie’s The Thin White Duke. Roe is skeptical that God can save us and says with certainty that the world is ending and that we are alive just waiting for the apocalypse. Fortunately, Roe doesn’t let it completely destroy his life and intends to make the best of it. For example, on the second track, right after “Hallelujah!” which looks like a prologue to a movie narrated by a female deity, “Be My End,” which comes with a slightly more generic instrumental but which is undeniably captivating and pleasant to hear. As the guitars blend with the drums and synthesizers intelligently, Will sings, “Baby, you could be my end/So kiss me in the dying light/Our last night on Earth could be so cute.” In short, it is one of those simple tracks that are incredible and unique, just like the rest of the album.
As generic as Roe seems, he is in fact an interesting character. He is a kind of Satanist who has given up on God and always reaffirms his lack of faith in the Christian deity, but it goes far beyond a kind of provocative atheist. In the simple and more down to earth “Born Cold,” Will defines the essence of Roe, “I was born cold, so much colder than you/A transparent brute/A black heart you see right through/I’m the smoker’s health/The hangman hangs himself.” Roe is perfect for reigning Sex, Death & the Infinite Void. He’s cold, dry, hopeless, versatile, eclectic, a little pessimistic and not afraid to die for the love of drinking poison or dancing in an acid rain—as we can see one of the best track on the album, the extremely captivating “Cyanide,” where he sings, “She’s my cyanide/I drink her every night/And modern love can feel like suicide.” Without a doubt, a really unique character.
However, the album doesn’t just revolve around Roe, but his romantic struggle at the end of the world. In “Annabelle,” which sounds more like an indie than a rock track, Roe meets his partner for the rest of the story. In this track, which combines sharp rock verses and a very catchy alternative pop hook, he tells her how God gave up on Earth and how he cannot save us from the end of the world with a very unique lyric. In the chorus he kicks the bucket and sings, “God can’t save us/So let’s live like sinners.” However, time has passed and like the situation in the world, their relationship is not really going well. “Four Years Ago,” an extremely dramatic and incredible duet, shows them recalling the time when they were extremely crazy about each other. Of course, the album left some holes open in the story, but that doesn’t really make you unable to enjoy the track and album.
And even though the album revolves around Rock for most of the time, some tracks here are born as unique sound units. I might even risk comparing some tracks from Sex, Death & the Infinite Void with Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” “Thorns of Love,” in which Will sings about the difficulties of love, is one of the best moments on the album. In addition to the perfect transitions between the different instrumental faces and the extremely catchy and entertaining chorus, the track looks like a mixture of Rock, Indie and Classical music—this is almost a violent song from a striking classical musical. “Poisoned Heart” is also another incredible track where Will seems a little more tragic and expressive talking about how he is a toxic person to relate to. He sings, “Krueger kills in dreams, I’ll steal them from you.” However, the strongest point of the track is that you can feel that the track has the energy of a classic romantic singer during the verses. Obviously, these tracks are not great revolutionary pieces of music, but they are very unique.
Of course, Sex, Death & the Infinite Void is not perfect, but if you consider how good the rest of the album is, you really don’t care that much. The weakest moment on the album is “Paradise,” which even with a really interesting rhythm and aesthetic, has a really problematic lyrics that doesn’t even match the theme presented on the rest of the album. Another big problem with the album is the way the interludes are worked. For example, the fact that “The Crown of Life,” which has only one line, receives a track just for it and the final monologue, which ends up being almost poetry, is inserted at the end of the last track. It just doesn’t make sense. Of course, it is not something that bothers —by the way all the interludes are very interesting and go pretty well with the album—but it was something that really left me with questions.
Finally, after “Napalm Girls” and “Black Moon” that start with potential but have a slightly catchy but weak chorus, we arrive at the last track, “All My Friends,” which is the most beautiful and intimate track on the album. Next to just a piano, Will Gould appears with this incredible performance, that is deep and true, singing about Ian, who was hospitalized at the time. He begins, “Sex, death and the infinite void/The very thoughts we’re taught to avoid,” and then continues later, “My confidant, my dearest friend/I watched you grow as you watched me bend/Then cried myself to sleep again.” Unfortunately, this track doesn’t last as long, being replaced by a final monologue with some well-written phrases, but the time it lasts is really emotional. In the end, there aren’t many words to describe the album anymore. This is just incredible.