Creepy Monday – Sleepy Sunday – Album Review
I hope the people out there are paying attention to this band…Creepy Monday makes wicked music.
You can hear something rad brewing immediately as “Waste” begins the Sleepy Sunday experience, crackling frequency static and haunting the halls with creeped-out guitars. At just slightly less than a minute into the first song, Creepy Monday can’t hold the dam back any longer, exploding into a solid mix of killer energy in the mix, gritty sound, and wildly distant vocals. Make no mistake, by the time you’re about two & a half minutes into this song, your jaw should be on the floor as you listen to what it sounds like to bring your full A-game to the music like this Minneapolis-based band does right from the drop on their debut record. Never mind the fact that it’s their first album – imagine starting off a career with the strengths and ideas that Creepy Monday put on display throughout “Waste” – the potential is staggering if this is already the quality they’re coming at us all with. They’re like a cross between…jeez…something along the lines of Idiot Pilot and Minus The Bear…add in a heavy dose of Failure and Ken Andrews’ penchant for the Space-Rock sound. Bottom line is the musicianship is there, the vocals are there, the writing is there, and the execution is really where the magic happens most; you’ll hear everything snap together instantly on “Waste” and this four-piece band never looks back from the moment they punch into the quickened pace of the opening track. What I think I love most about this first cut is that, not only will you not find any weak-spots in the song or in the lineup, but you’ll also hear a brilliant balance between the strengths in the band. “Waste” has Creepy Monday storming out of the gate, ripping it up from the lefts to the rights with gnarly tone & distortion, bold drums, and far away distant vocals decked out in the sweet fog of reverb. Don’t get me wrong, when the power is put into the microphone, you can hear every word…even if you can’t discern a single one, you can still feel them due to the intensity.
You can hear undeniable influences break through at times, like you’ll hear a lil’ bit of Weezer attitude in the immense Pop hooks that fuel the vocals of “Mr. Sun” and the stunning personality of the guitars. I’ll say this…I was already massively excited about this band from the moment “Waste” started – hearing Creepy Monday raise the stakes this enormously with “Mr. Sun” was like a freakin’ audio-revelation. This entire band has it goin’ on y’all! “Mr. Sun” is like the second-coming of Pinkerton – it’s got that perfect mix of extremely beautiful grunged-up melody and the squelches & squeals from the guitars make the comparison to Weezer all the more apt, not that there haven’t been other bands that have tried to get something similar right of course. It’s not always the easiest thing to lay down on a recording…and those moments where the guitars shine through in their most charismatic parts comes out flawlessly – what you’ll hear from Creepy Monday on “Mr. Sun” is the sound of things going right. I mentioned how these guys make music you can genuinely feel when talking about “Waste” – and if that statement doesn’t ring even more true with “Mr. Sun,” then I don’t even know how to describe what I’m hearing at all. Like I have to be careful…this song is the kind of cut I could easily rant and rave about for hours on end, and there’s still much more awesomeness to come throughout the lineup of songs on Sleepy Sunday. Suffice it to say, this is completely my jam; listen to moments like the solo around the ninety-second mark…listen to the insane amount of pull the vocals put into the melody…listen to the bombastic sound, killer harmonies, and the absolutely EPIC payload “Mr. Sun” has – honestly, what is not to love about this song? There are 100% radiant hooks everywhere you turn along the way, and by the end, this song is beyond enormous… “Mr. Sun” is easily one of the raddest cuts I’ve heard this year.
The next two songs, “Pastries,” and “Satellite,” appear to have pre-dated the record as lead-singles before Sleepy Sunday officially came out. Creepy Monday goes pretty big by the end of this first of the two tunes…”Pastries” may appear to be fairly chill at the beginning, but soon enough you’ll find yourself four-minutes in and losing grip on your reality while you’re lost in the wall of sound these guys create. LISTEN to the guitars fire up their melodic & spaced-out sound at the beginning of “Pastries” will ya? The hooks come through the hazy vibe in the atmosphere perfectly, Creepy Monday gets a little looser with the overall structure and style here, gettin’ in a smooth mix of laid-back classic sound into the mix. It’s like if you can imagine a 50’s prom all of a sudden got an awesome band that could rock with a ballroom sound, but with a much more modern approach, clever structural instincts, and a punishingly wild finale…you might have something close to what you’ll hear on “Pastries.” I really dig the amount of creativity and freedom you hear in a song like “Pastries” – I think it shows that the band ultimately doesn’t take things too seriously in life, while also proving that when it comes to the music part, they leave no stone unturned in effort to get the best out of themselves, and their ideas. They’re willing to explore and push the limits of any border or boundaries around them, and that leads them into exceptionally creative results like the ride through “Pastries.” It’s got the advantage or sweet sound, hooks that connect, and at its most up-tempo, it’s highly appealing and accessible; the other-half of “Pastries” is designed with much more artistically-inclined aspirations. Arguably the balance of this song’s accessibility tips in favor towards music-heads and musicians that dig more complex and involved structures, but there’s definitely enough spots along the way that the everyday listener would love too.
Music happens in the order it happens in and there’s not much else that can be done about that – how could there be? While both “Pastries” and “Satellite” pump-out engaging sounds and hooks, there’s not a doubt in my mind that “Mr. Sun” is the most single-worthy song in the first four tunes. But like I said…who knows when the songs came back finished and produced…they might have had access to “Pastries” and “Satellite” long before they had “Mr. Sun” – that’s certainly possible. Maybe they were holding back the awesomeness at first, and testing the waters with songs like “Pastries” and the glorious storming through the epic moments on “Satellite” before storming the airwaves with “Mr. Sun.” While I have the occasional issue with the mix at the beginning of “Satellite” here & there, any flaw to be found soon refines itself as the color and catchiness of this lead-single gets exposed as the track plays on. Hard to argue with the energy that “Satellite” pumps out with its supercharged Punk/Pop sound…they pack in a ton of entertainment and diversity into a short amount of time with this cut coming in at less than three-minutes long. For myself personally, I hear the spot around the forty-five second mark and I’m like…fuckin’ beside myself really – like sitting here in disbelief that this band has SO MANY quality ideas that this one part of the song literally flies by, and could have easily been one of its main hooks! “Satellite” will lead you in wild directions where you really can’t assume anything or try to predict where the song will turn to next – like how about the incredible breakdown it has? You know the one I mean…the one right at the end of the song that makes it sounds like “Satellite” is gonna start right back into its hooks again with a short build-up, right before this song fully ends without a warning instead. I’m all about it Creepy Monday – keep us guessing – surprising and skillful, this band most surely is.
“Sloppy Poppy” is a sweeter moment than you might think the title would imply. Really low-key stuff here…a fantastically chill vibe that sounds like what might happen if you threaded together Band Of Horses, The Temper Trap, and Mellowdrone as one. Wonderfully gentle, the delicate & serene sound of “Sloppy Poppy” is a gorgeous moment in time, equally stunning with and without the vocals. A song where the high level of ambience really plays a role in the right ways, you listen to a song like “Sloppy Poppy” and it feels like you’re right there in the room with them, witnessing this magic happen up close. The shortest cut on the album, I could have taken “Sloppy Poppy” and its charming sound at easily twice the length and never complained…but sometimes that’s the key to preserving the magic…doling it out in sweet little pieces that we can’t help but come back for more of. Listening to the subtle way the chords come alive around the 1:40 mark has more heart in that tiny moment than most bands & artists even find over the course of an entire career. I maintain – Creepy Monday completely has it goin’ on.
As if “Sloppy Poppy” served directly as the intro to “Viscous Emulsions” to follow, Creepy Monday explodes straight out of the gate and into the thick of a highly adventurous idea. I think “Viscous Emulsions” reveals a lot about the band overall, and could definitely be regarded as one of the album’s most ambitious tunes when all is said & done, and you’ve had a chance to absorb the most sparkling hooks & hard-hitting moments of this song. Creepy Monday deserves serious props for what they’ve accomplished here…the amount of pure electricity, energy, and fusion happening throughout the shifting dynamics of this song are straight-up wild to experience. “Viscous Emulsions” has a structure, sure – but it also feels like they have the ability to stop/start from one direction to another with the colorful sound, precision, and tenacity of a band like Morning Teleportation. Of course, once they start screamin’ at ya, there’s probably less of a comparison to be made as Creepy Monday veers towards a new direction in the middle of “Viscous Emulsions” and seeks to scorch the earth from the microphone. This particular track actually reminds me a lot of Failure at times, and on an independent-level, I’d say crossed with the otherworldly sounds of Red Martian out of Seattle. Have I mentioned how I pretty much love every band that Creepy Monday have reminded me of on this album? I’m tellin’ ya – they make brilliant music with true versatility, diversity, and depth – listen to the way they bring in an outstanding & welcoming melody around the 1:40 mark, only to mix it up once again and change course about thirty seconds later with the most jarring moment from the microphone on the entire album, sounding large enough to take your lunch money.
So…look…if you’re a fan of what you’ve heard to this point, you’ll have no problem at all enjoying “Float” either. I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s going to be the song that brings people in to listen to Creepy Monday overall when compared to the rest of this lineup of songs, but that’s only if we’re talking about accessibility to the masses. If we’re talking personal preferences, then I’m as all over this song as I am with the rest of this gorgeous gritty gem of a record that Creepy Monday have in Sleepy Sunday; besides – if you’re looking for a song that really brings a tie-in to the title of the record, what better candidate than the gracefully sedated sounds of “Float” could there be? That actually may or may-not be true…the sedated part…you’ll feel that in the atmospheric sound of the vocals, but the punch in the music stays just as epic, confident, bold, and of course, extremely well-played. “Float” will go on to reveal hooks that are seriously captivating and mesmerizing; I can’t imagine it being the first song on the record that’s going to stand out to listeners, but it’s absolutely part of a strong supporting cast of cuts that make this album one you’ll want to come back to time & time again for the depth of ideas it displays. For me, “Float” will always be a welcome tune on my playlists…I could stay lost happily in the haze of this melody for months and never want to be disturbed from the warm cocoon of sound Creepy Monday creates here. “Float” also packs in a quick & separated finale for ya too, where they take the last thirty seconds or so to reveal what happens when the caffeine finally kicks back in.
Here’s where I’m at – “Assembly Line” is amazing – fight me. Because I’ll go down swinging hard on behalf of this band any time after everything I’ve heard on this record. The freakin’ superb grinding of distortion and melody through the music and vocals on “Assembly Line” are fucking fantastic; if you were to ask me personally, I’d tell ya straight-up this is one of the record’s rawest but best tracks by far. Are people going to think I’m nuts for feeling as strong about this song as I truly do when they hear it? Maybe! And that’s OK homies – you do you, I’ll do me. When I hear a song like “Assembly Line” and its supremely badass all-or-nothing approach, indie rockin’ like they’re the reincarnation of Superchunk for the right here & now – I’m tellin’ ya, there’s nothing about this song I don’t wanna listen to all day long, every damn day. While it’s arguable that Creepy Monday loosens up a bit on the production end of things on “Assembly Line” – it was a really smart choice to serve what this song needs at its core. As a result, it kind of stands out sound-wise from many of the songs on this album, which may or may not work in favors of the album’s cohesion – but in terms of doing the right thing in the moment, that extra wildness of the vibe on “Assembly Line” leads to a brilliant combination of confidence and tension that sounds unpredictable like and entirely awesome. Tell me this isn’t like Built To Spill reborn! And then like, try to convince me you somehow don’t want to turn this song right up to the rafters as far as your volume will take ya – you know you can’t get enough of “Assembly Line” either! This is lo-fi Alt-Indie-Rock at its freakin’ finest. 100% memorable – the hooks on “Assembly Line” are sonic perfection with the way they’ve executed so strongly here; Creepy Monday embraces the moment for all its worth & gets the maximum potential out of this song for sure.
It’d be damn tough for any song to live up to what was just heard moments ago on “Assembly Line” – especially with the savage impact this track makes on those first listening experiences. While it still might remain the highlight at the end of the record for myself personally, I think “Magician” holds its own strongly, and the final song “Cobwebs” is pretty damn fascinating. “Magician” to me, absolutely has the toughest spot in the lineup to fill…I wouldn’t say it’s forgettable by any stretch of the imagination, but it doesn’t quite pack in the memorable experience of “Assembly Line” or “Cobwebs” surrounding it either. I’d put it in there with songs that serve the supporting cast of cuts in the lineup & give this record the depth that it has. Love the role the toms play from the drums on “Magician,” and I really dig the effect of the layering & harmonies surrounding the vocals…there are a lot of things that worked in favor of this cut, and a few things that felt like this track doesn’t quite hit the standard they’ve set along the way. Still a good tune in its own right for sure, but by comparison to the rest, and factoring the epic highlight that “Assembly Line” becomes right beforehand, “Magician” struggles harder to stand out. But let’s be completely crystal clear – that’s within the context & confines of this record alone – “Magician” would be a highlight on most albums out there – that’s how strong this debut really is.
Creepy Monday will start the last cut off in their own mesmerizing gear and get “Cobwebs” off to a great start – but listen to the Pink Floyd influence that soon follows on this track will ya? Sure…there’s a whole lot more you could point to for comparisons here & there, but there are times throughout “Cobwebs” where Creepy Monday become nearly a dead-ringer for the Progressive Rock legends…listen to spots around the 1:50 and 3:30 mark for an example of what I’m talking about. They know the ones. It’d be impossible not to hear the comparison. No carbon copy by any stretch when it comes to the overall ideas and structure, but definitely a similar vibe that not only gives the record one last new dimension of sound, but also brings in a nostalgic familiarity that will please a great many ears out there. The last song is the longest cut on the record, one of its most adventurous & ambitious cuts, and a track that brings the sense of finality to the experience you want in its final moment. It’s like a great speech and how you know when to clap loud at the end when the person nailed what they had to say at the podium – when “Cobwebs” comes to a close, you know the album is officially over, because it FEELS complete. While I don’t know too much about this band yet outside of the music, I can definitely tell you from the widespread range of sound and commitment that they’ve put into the effort on the songs throughout Sleepy Sunday shows that Creepy Monday has real respect and knowledge for the history of music, and clearly understands how to use what influences them to create a compelling new experience. I’m stoked to find out more about this band for sure and excited to listen to them evolve even more over the next years to come – considering this is a debut record, this is pretty much off the charts and they’re ahead of their time – if this is where Creepy Monday is starting their story, imagine where they’ll end up, and where they’ll be able to take us through their music. Absolutely exceptional record & obviously a highly capable band – they’ve got visionary ideas, memorable material, and a thrilling set of songs on Sleepy Sunday that is bound to hold up strongly over the years, and retain its repeat value.
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