Creepoid - Cemetery Highrise Slum (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Cemetery Highrise Slum (2015)

Collect Records

If you're familiar with Philadelphia’s Creepoid, then you're well acquainted with their knack for slow rock songs, foreshadowing all sorts of doom and gloom. They maintain that foreboding sense of approach musically as they dial things back a notch under Cemetery Highrise Slum. It's less heavy than I anticipated but lyrically, some of their most complete and fleshed-out work to date. Still, there's a sense of urgency that's missing here amid the heavy sentimentality of vocalist Sean Miller. As intimate as he gets, there's too strong a withdrawn feeling and one which severely takes away from an otherwise decent effort.

It's a good follow-up to Wet but I feel like the payoff I waited for over the past couple years is being teased but never delivered. "American Smile" helps fill their quota of '90s grunge-influenced songs, paying homage to the likes of Soundgarden, Nirvana and Pearl Jam, along with a couple other tracks, which again form the usual. You came for these and got these. Expectations met. But the slow burners start to get overdone when the other tracks unravel. Don't get me wrong...I like the shoegaze and dizzy atmospheric feel of Anna Troxell on "Fingernails" (as it's hauntingly beautiful) but again, too many of the ensuing tracks get bogged down and spread out over this melodic ambiance. They aren't boring but quite a few of them don't stand out as individual songs at all, which does lend credence to the fact that maybe if you take them in as a collective, they'll play out much better as parts fitting and wrapping into each other. Still, that's asking the listener just a tad too much.

Songs like "Dried Out" (one for the '90s alt rock fans) and "Shaking" (a dark spin that captures a wide range of emotions) do well to rescue these tepid parts of the album but overall, you're left with an aftertaste that Creepoid may have been better off kicking things up a notch. I guess they wanted this dragging musical approach to convey the themes of Cemetery Highrise Slum - depression, personal struggle, mortality and overall, introspection into our everyday lives -- but I still think they didn't have to be as distanced and drawn out as this. Not a bad album but definitely, I'm disappointed. I expected much more.