EP REVIEW: Simple Creatures – Strange Love
Pop-punk powerhouses Alex Gaskarth and Mark Hoppus‘ launched their supergroup Simple Creatures earlier this year, showing made-in-America trash-pop bops on six-track EP Strange Love. Striving for strangeness, the All Time Low x Blink-182 duo’s debut moves away from the original bands’ moulds and modifies music that masterminds contorted rhythms, distorted synths, exuberant harmonisation and punchy hooks, under an electro/pop/rock euphoria.
Debut single Drug delves into dark concepts of destructive behaviour caused by compulsive infatuation to an addictive entity, overshadowed by uptempo influxes of sporadic drums patterns and ratty guitars, leading to the amiable choir of na-na vocal harmonies of the chanting chorus. Drug is the cultivation of the Creatures’ audaciously sonic attitude and trash pop trademark.
Title track Strange Love showcases a dizzying array of distorted synths and electronic rhythms, accompanied by a perplexing polychromatic visual featuring Gaskarth and Hoppus on their strive for strangeness. The songs singalong catchy chorus, courtesy of Gaskarth’s graceful tone, analyses atypical affections on a wild revelry night out, stylised to be a sombre, euphoric synth-pop song.
Promotional sample Adrenaline and EP track How To Live designate dark pop lyricism and 80’s synth sounds, to embody the artist inspirations Simple Creatures take note of from their common ground of listening mutualities. The Cure‘s new wave and alternative rock influence drives the former track’s clashing guitars and circulating bass, to supply substance of bite and brattiness to the energetically charged chorus, as the pair of pop-punk counterparts strike out its melodious core crooning “When I’m six feet under my misery/Come and hit me with adrenaline.” In comparison to its common characteristics, the latter’s prolific waves of synthesisers and pulsating drum machine patterns share similar sounds to that of Adrenaline. Swapping up tempo speeds for down tempo slowness, the track tackles deep thoughts, dark themes and dealings with demons, delivered by a hybrid of Gaskarth and Hoppus’ tame tones.
Deep cut Ether‘s ambient electronics delivers a down tempo track, with Hoppus’ melodies paving the way for a deep baritone vocal led verse to a vociferous chorus peak. Alternating bass lines bleed into electro-instrumental breakdowns and phaser effects, to curate the motion of the song’s subtle synths, atypical to the track’s electro-pop aura.
The crescendo to the duo’s debut, left-field closer Lucy is a filter-free song that doesn’t hold back on its let-loose, brash and bombastic behaviour. A fast-paced fierceness of digital distortions and instrumentals with audacity allow grimy, ascending synthesisers and ratty drum clutters to merge, a minimal amount of rock amidst the synth-pop. Mixing a melodic vocal duality, Hoppus’ downright spoken voice and Gaskarth’s hazy ooh’s tell a narrative of a financial robbery gone wrong, warbling “I want to be the driver of your getaway car/Stash the paper bag at the back of the bar/Smile through the pain and run away from your past/Leave the handgun/Take the cash.”
An EP that’s enigmatic from the entities everyday efforts in All Time Low and Blink-182, “Strange Love is the first glimpse into the Simple Creatures universe” confesses its mastermind Hoppus. Honing in on trash-pop and spirited synth sounds, the intent to take this unsuspecting duo beyond the rooms of recording studios is set in stone, as a five-date US headline tour and a one-off London show have been confirmed. Despite its distinct difference, Simple Creatures is a promising pursuit, set out to showcase an optimistic outlet for Alex Gaskarth and Mark Hoppus.
Standout Tracks: Strange Love, Adrenaline, Lucy
For Fans Of: Waterparks
Written by: Katie Conway-Flood