“Wishing Well” opens Philly four-piece Creepoid’s latest release Horse Heaven (Ian Records) with foreboding drums and shimmering shakes, creating a threshold of lush orchestration that befittingly frames Sean Miller at the vocal forefront. “Wishing Well” extends audibly as emotively open towards its listener, casting it as a tempered primer to the mood of the album’s progress. Tape music turned nearly folk, Creepoid has evolved from intentionally fuzzed out anthems to empathetic tracks that expand on the band’s strengths while unveiling new instances of melodic genius and concise craft. “Dream Out” begins soft and enchanting, doubling in sound near the two-minute mark with duet worthy repeats of “but I do” compliments of Anna and Pat Troxell. Coupled with psyched out power chords that rip through your soul and Pete Joe Urban’s soaring guitar riffs and strategic reverb, “Dream Out” serves as a lyrical landscape to which Creepoid’s lines are as intelligible as their instrumentation. Like a more brooding Beach House (pre-Teen Dream). The opening tracks of Horse Heaven possess a haunting charm rooted in the band’s ability to nurture their sound as a collective past the predictable. This act of nurturing paints “Staircase” transcendent, its acoustic chords and washed out backup vocals in synergy with quasi-surf rock riffs electrified. Compiling a handful of sub-genre specifications, “Staircase” intermingles an arch of indie tropes, rendering the track much like decoupage, a creation neatly composed of various influences and parts, emerging as something new. In “Emily”, you find two part harmonies and crisp tambourine accents flowing in with an endearing calmness embedding the track’s lyrical structure within the fabric of its instrumental depth subconsciously conjuring up longings for those childhood summer vacation days at the shore. “Hollow Doubt” is where you find former hardcore kids really start to reveal their misspent youth to the listener. Sound recordings and familiar bluesy guitar licks are paired with snaps that escalate into full throttle grunge through the duration of “Grave Blanket” allowing Creepoid to bare some teeth. “Spirit Birds” opens with what sounds like wind and distant riffs that bend, recede then surge forth alongside dissonant clangs of cymbal and quasi-staccato like beats. With a similar melancholy found in the songs of Lehigh Valley experimentalists Soars, Horse Heaven’s latter tracks harbor a mysterious depth that permeates from each outro to intro, placing the album’s title track as bridging the time lapse of “Find You Out” and “Enabler” through melody. Bringing to mind wintery landscapes and a vibe of springtime dusks, Creepoid’s Horse Heaven is definitely an enjoyable eternity if you can see how the fallen angels might be right. You can purchase and download the LP here or grab the vinyl via Ian Records. - Dianca Potts
Which of these local acts should be The Deli Philly's featured artist(s)?
For those who decide whether to come or go based on the first forty seconds of an album, Restorations’ LP2 is practically tailor-made for snap judgments. After a chiming, anthemic guitar opening, the band already known for fist-raising jams lets all hell break loose with “D,” their most unrestrained opener yet. The drum kit-mauling, earth-shaking bass lines and ascendant guitar riffs can only be described as complete sensory overload, and make it clear that the following eleven songs are going to be fueled by pure viscera. If your preferences run towards structure over huge sound, this release may leave you cold; LP2’s predominant means of exploring the band’s wealth of ideas are stadium-sized instrumentation and endless waves of atmospherics, as well as a dose of ennui.
This is a murkier, more inward-looking Restorations than we’re used to. Everything that was there before, musically, is blown sky-high this time around. They’ve managed to pack ideas into every iota of the song list, aided by Jon Low’s miles-deep production; the density of the music itself is offset by an album-long meditation on place, belonging, and the ramifications of leaving the familiar behind, which makes the outsized sound that much more of an interesting direction. Juxtaposing the existential discomfort with more sophisticated, complex forays into Restorations’ sonic wheelhouse.
The spiraling guitars, one of the album’s specially prominent features, are everywhere, serving various purposes in each song. “Kind of Comfort”’s jittery glam rock aspirations accompany lyrics of searching and wanderlust. Even the more downbeat cuts (“In Perpetuity Through The Universe,” “New Old”) are propelled beyond their subject matter by the songs’ barely-concealed restless energy. At its more pensive moments, like the folk-inflected “Civil Inattention,” there is a restless undercurrent of texture and volatility that never quite lets up.
Album closer “Adventure Tortoise” is all monster buildup laced with extraterrestrial effects, kicking off into a sort of requiem for the band’s neighborhood. “I’d really like to stay to help this place,” growls Jon Loudon through his teeth, but the allure of letting it all go is too strong to resist. The longing for a place “where nobody knows your name” isn’t quite all-consuming enough to inspire real action, but it is definitely the new paradigm Loudon means.
It takes guts to pull off a release that feels ten minutes long but contains more emotional and musical texture than most records. Restorations cover a whole lot of ground on LP2, and for the most part, pull off their ambitions. A bit too sanguine for shoegaze, and maybe too heady for punk, Restorations’ second full-length album brings an intriguing palette of aspirations to their open road-ready sound, prepared to try anything and everything. - Alyssa Greenberg