Canadian power-duo Indian Handcrafts, release their second album, Creeps on Sargent House on 2nd October. “The last one was our 70s album, this is our 80s album,” jokes Indian Handcrafts drummer/vocalist Brandyn James Aikins. Although it’s an offhand generalization, there’s a good deal of accuracy to the jest. Whereas the Canadian duo’s 2012 debut, Civil Disobedience for Losers was full of 70s style heavy groove within its drop-tuned riff-rollicking, Creeps has more sheen and steel. Or, while the previous album was more of a shag carpet lined party van, Creeps is a souped-up time-traveling Delorean.
Throughout, Creeps pits elements of early Metallica’s dingy denim thrash, Judas Priest’s shiny leather turbo metal, Queens of the Stone Age’s flannel-flying rock and even Creatures Of The Night-era KISS’ glossy hard pop alongside the band’s signature amalgam of futuristic alt-rock and a cross section of blistering punk-sludge hallucinations. The drum sounds are huge, the ridiculously incredible guitar tones will have guitar geeks geeking out for years to come. And, the dual vocals often compellingly sound as though they were simultaneously softly sung and violently screamed.
The songs for Creeps came about quickly after the band had spent considerable time on tour, the two of them riding in a van for hours on end. “On tour you’re listening to everything all the time, going from Celtic Frost to Faster Pussycat,” says guitarist/vocalist Daniel Brandon Allen. “It tends to work its way into the writing.” The effects of that mindset opened them up to the musical twists and turns of the new album. “It’s anthemic at times,” Allen says. “Hopefully listener friendly. It’s kind of a mixed bag.”
The mixed bag starts off with the one-two punch of lightning-riding, doom riff shuffling “Down At the Docks” and infectious, storming track, “It’s Late Queeny.” A finger-tapped, overdrive ravaged guitar lead kicks off the swinging “Murderers For Hire” with Aikins’ and Allen’s vocals sounding more demonic than the PMRC given carte blanche censorship rights. Elsewhere, the straight up power metal of “Maelstrom” affirms the hypothesis, “is a two-man Iron Maiden possible?” The 7-minute tune packs in as many great riffs as some bands do in a career, while the vocals spin a woeful seafaring yarn. “Snake Mountain” is a raging NWOBHM style chug-fest that somehow also hearkens to late-80s Dischord melodic hardcore. And, hard rock fans are sure to latch onto the shimmering melody and – gasp! – vocal harmonies of “The Divider” even while 90s Helmet fans would claim the open-tuned minor chord riff for their own alternative nation.
For Creeps the band once again teamed up with previous album engineer Toshi Kasai (Melvins, Tool), surreptitiously sneaking away from their Barrie, Ontario home for 10 days’ recording at Kasai’s new Sun Valley, CA studio Sound of Sirens. There the pair focused intently on distilling their ideas down to a 9-song, 44-minute can of whip ass labelled simply, Creeps.