Taking senses and imagination on another psyche ripping helter skelter of raw and sonically sculpted rock ‘n’ roll, Scottish duo The Creeping Ivies unveil their second album Ghost World and prove themselves yet again to be one of the most exciting provocateurs of primal incitement. The new full-length from the band is a riotous seduction of garage punk and naked rock ‘n’ roll with plenty of spices from psychobilly to punk rock. It also sees the band at its most potent and insatiably virulent yet, the release loaded with deliciously caustic and masterfully magnetic, to steal from the title of one of their earlier songs, buzzbombs.
The Creeping Ivies consists of Becca Bomb providing piercing, coarsely sirenesque vocals and raw sonic guitar vivacity and Duncan Destruction who brings heavy thumping, rapaciously intruding beats to the thrilling equation. Their union is a simultaneously primitive and precisely sculpted enslaving of the senses, one which from day one intrigued and wildly enthralled. First release the Rock N Roll Party EP in 2011 stirred up attention and emotions with its synapse searing acidity and voracious rioting, that an ever present trait expanding with greater potency on the following Ghost Train EP and debut album Stay Wild, both in 2012. Inciting audiences just as dramatically with their live performances, which has seen them share a stage with the likes of Viv Albertine of The Slits and Vic Godard & Subway Sect, the stature of The Creeping Ivies has increased constantly within the underground scene, their sound recalling many influences but undeniably unique to them. Last November the release of the double A-sided single What Would Joey Ramone Do? / Ramona Wolf teased and tempted as the band showed a continuing to evolve invention to their sonic exploits and imagination. It certainly led to the anticipation and expectations of their next album to intensify. The two tracks hinted at the possible magnificence of Ghost World but it is fair to say that its haunting intrusive delights have emerged as a far greater and dangerous triumph than hoped.
The Dundee pair open up the adventure with the album’s title track. Instantly a haunted caress of guitar glances over ears with a caustic kiss in tow as well as a rub of riffs and the joining tub thumping beats of Duncan. Immediately enticing in its noir lit breath and grazing ambience, the track pulsates as it worms its way under the skin laying irresistible bait for the entrance of Becca’s vocals. As ever her voice holds a definite Wanda Jackson meets Siouxsie Sioux texture and magnetism to it, intensity in her delivery searing flesh and air as she and the song hit their stride. With an addiction spawning groove and the delicious occasional blaze of harmonica from guest Homesick Aldo, the track takes little time to secure full submission for its tempting whilst showing the evolution in sound and songwriting maturity poised to consume the senses in hand with the expected sonic feverishness of the band.
The following entangling chords of The Bridge provide an instant variation to the toxicity of the album; its opening fifties bred melodic teasing charming the listener before thrusting sinew packed beats and the wonderfully torrid vocal tones of Bomb into the appealing recipe. The hook which drew the first spark of ardour as the song started continues to vein the stomp whilst a resonating shimmer to the sound engulfs and exhilarates the senses. As with all their songs, the premise is uncomplicated and minimalistic but always thick in presence and invention leading to fully textured and imposing encounters.
The intimidating shadows of The Creeps consumes attention next, their threat and imposing provocation sizeable but defused by an excellent revelry of keys, vocal wails, and the urgent dance of hooks and harmonies. Short, sweet, and irresistible, the song is then put in its appealing place by Love Kills, a brilliant blend of sixties pop, garage punk, and rockabilly energy. Imagine The Shangri-Las and The Cramps in a saucy romantic triangle with Australian band Valentiine and you have the brilliant Love Kills. The track sways and romps with revelry and mischievousness to cast a perfect raw pop song on the passions.
Ramona Wolf just sounds better with each encounter since its single release last November. It’s almost spatial opening ambience paves the way for the vocal seduction of Becca to spread a temptress like devilry, a sonic medusa with a delivery writhing with searing harmonies and enslaving qualities. Musically the song is a repetitive narrative, punchy beats and scalding guitar probing and grazing respectively with singular intent beneath the harsh atmosphere of the tale. It is also quite glorious as is the next up Dream Baby Dream. Providing irrepressible flirting from the sax of Andrew Pattie within its scintillating fifties pop ravaging and punk seeded ravishing, the song stomps over and challenges the senses for another unruly treat, Bo Diddley meets Helen Shapiro at the home of The Trashmen.
Both Trippin’ Out and Haunted High School finger the passions in their individual ways next, the first a heart rapping rampage of jabbing beats and scarring riffs skirting the sinister drama. It is a tale of ghostly enterprise and inescapable rapacious shadows with a heartbeat which resonates through the bone and core of the evocative tale whilst melodic acidity and vocal colouring courts its intent. The excellent fierce smouldering is soon exceeded by What Would Joey Ramone Do?, a song which sculpts a raising of the spirits of Gene Vincent and Lux Interior with that of the song’s namesake. The track provides all you expect and much more, the Cochran/ Poison Ivy Rorschach like mix of guitar sound with the impossible contagious punk stomp of the song an epidemic for the passions.
Arguably the band saves the best till last, though every listen offers a different favourite. Forever Leather fuses sixties girl pop with a raw voracity, the song like the punk infected offspring of The Crystals and The Stooges with a heady dose of Siouxsie menace. It is a scintillating end to an outstanding album. The Creeping Ivies continue to impress as they evolve and push their boundaries, doing so without losing any of the elements which made them an unbridled addiction certainly for us since their early days. Whether their sound will ever find the major spotlight it deserves is impossible to say, such its uniqueness and undiluted rawness, but it will definitely recruit the most passionate and feverish passions from an increasingly growing legion of fans we suggest, it just needs the opportunity to make that infectious strike.
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