Death At My Door
There’s little refuting that The Creepshow are one of Canada’s premiere psychobilly attractions. They’ve maintained this reputation through numerous lineup changes, including three vocalists, as well as when branching out from what is typically recognized as a very limiting genre. At this point, I think it’s safe to say that their style and allure transcends the typical psychobilly niche, and that fans think of the band first and foremost as The Creepshow. Continuing this trend, The Creepshow’s fifth full length, Death At My Door, further demonstrates the band’s confidence and willingness to push themselves to new heights.
Death At My Door marks vocalist Kendra Legaspi’s second full length, and while her first album, Life After Death, played it safe (likely to comfort fans during the transition) the band now seems comfortable and confident enough to give their latest outing a very distinct personae. The Creepshow open the disc with a familiar punk-a-billy inspired title track featuring The Revered McGinty’s unmistakable organ keys and plenty of full bodied backing “woahs.” This is the classic Creepshow that has weathered the storm, and it still sounds every bit as gripping today as it did twelve years ago. While Sean McNab’s big upright double bass has never been as pronounced as with many of their peers, it still underlies some of the album’s top mid-tempo thumpers. Take, “Til Death Do Us Apart” and “Tomorrow May Never Come,” which reinforces the band’s reputation for some of the best and biggest sing along psychobilly choruses. The songs’ romping bass balances Kendra’s smooth, smokey presence, a chorus of anthemic gang vocals, and Sean McNab’s forceful riffs. Simply put, the band hits the mark repeatedly.
But what has always made The Creepshow so much more than a Horrorpops clone is their ability to infuse so many slight stylistic diversions into their frame, without ever losing sight of their psychobilly identity. Take the buzzing rock n’ roll attitude of “A.O.T.B.H.”, complete with distortion drenched riffs and killer guitar hooks, or the vibrant twang underpinning the rockabilly-gone-country stomper “Another Way Out.” Yet each of those pale in comparison to the swanky little brass number, “New Kings.” Opening with a swath of gravelly male vocals, the band turns out a ritzy 50’s dancehall crasher that wouldn’t feel out of place on The Kings Of Nuthin’ album. It’s wholly unexpected, but the payoff is undeniable.
Meanwhile, “My Soul To Keep” delves deeply into the opposite side of the spectrum, stripping down to a foundation of Legaspi’s raspy siren call and simple guitar accompaniment for the album’s final few sorrowful moments. While certainly a radical change of pace, the dank atmosphere and minimalist execution fits the scene. Long time fans may even draw some parallels with former front woman Sarah Blackwood’s early solo work. Let’s just hope this doesn’t prophesize Kendra’s eventual departure.
There’s little to say about The Creepshow that hasn’t already been lauded, and Death At My Door further justifies all prior praise. The Burlington, Ontario quintet continues to thrive in light of a career worth of change, and Legaspi now feels every bit at home with The Creepshow as with all past alumni. The Creepshow are right where they want to be, and Death At My Door further pushes The Creepshow’s creative and stylistic boundaries. It goes without saying, but Death At My Door exhibits all the markings of a band clearly embracing its prime.