[sic] Magazine

Creative Adult – Fear Of Life

There’s more than something a big smug about the “creative” industry. “I’m a creative”, they say with alarming frequency, the clear implication being that unless you too are part of the club then you are by definition not also one. Creative Adult’s sophomore LP, Fear Of Life, has no such existential crisis as its core, but it does herald a change in focus for the San Francisco band. Whilst still retaining elements of their sludgy and whiteknuckle, Hookworms-style 2014 punk-rock debut, Psychic Mess, now they’re more obviously in debt to late 80s gloom and the angular shadows of English post-punk as well.

Fear Of Life’s nine tracks are unhurried yet pass at a blistering pace, their 45 minutes sounding like a much longer album, say the collective oeuvre of Autobahn, and state-mates Ceremony and Weekend, heard via some sort of high-speed dubbing. Down in the mix, Scott Phillips’ vocal is recorded at the same volume as the jangling guitar giving them equal pegging, rampant fuzz, howling feedback and intense psychedelic flourishes rushing to fill all residual space. Fear Of Life is a guitar lover’s album as a result, murky statements like “Charged” defined by appropriately supercharged riffing that slices through the wailing scree. Reverbed to the point of absolute dynamism, the guitar again dominates on a track like “Reality Tunnel” – a heads-down, full throttle dive into high octane racing, vocal delay dragged out to indicate sheer velocity, aural claustrophobia blown apart by cymbals that crash like starbursts.

Parsing the cacophony, “Moving Window” is less oppressive but no less miserable, the track’s powerful undertow of bass and clean jangles coming on like The Cure circa Pornography. Similarly melodic, “Know Who” is nevertheless full of mid-tempo menace, Phillips dipping in and out of spoken word and an inaudible mumble. Near identical in length to the opener, sisterly closer “Hand In Shove” uses its eight and a half bookending minutes to delivery the strongest hooks Fear Of Life has to offer, an ever-intensifying and highly impressive bout of spiralling bass and guitar riffs than dances to the tune of Phillips’ titular repeats. It, in particular, would be up there with the first wave post-punk greats if it weren’t for the thirty years between their release dates. Back in 2016 though, a good album that miraculous avoids Joy Division pastiche – an art in itself – Fear Of Life will be one remembered for its glorious moments.

Best track: “Reality Tunnel”

~Fear Of Life is released 5th August 2016 via Run For Cover.~