The Creases: Gradient

Brizzie 'it' band The Creases finally squeeze out an EP, it's time to go behind the hype and hear what's on offer.

- Over the past twelve months there’s been an excited buzz growing around Brisbane band, The Creases. It all began with that archetypal rock'n'roll fairytale where young teens are plucked from YouTube obscurity to be signed by British indie powerhouse Rough Trade, a label home to The Strokes, Jarvis Crocker, The Libertines and many more. Since then the band have played a range of festivals and supported the likes of Franz Ferdinand and Jake Bugg on their Australian tours. Liberation Records have taken on the band’s debut EP, Gradient, a record which will please existing fans, I suppose, but -stripping away the hype- actually leaves much to be desired.

The five tracks are a smooth mix of the gentle shoegaze and lo-fi pop style that The Creases have been perfecting over the last year. The record's been a long time coming and undoubtedly there are many people who really want this record to sound great, perhaps this will make them willing to forgive all its shortcomings. The rags-to-riches story and the barracking of an enthusiastic hometown crowd, can't make Gradient anything more than it is. Lacking the inspiration to be anything particularly ground-breaking and the ambition to develop the band's ‘less is more’ approach, at best, you get a slice of shoegaze pop that fails to distinguish itself: pleasantly forgettable.

The record’s lead single Static Lines is by far the standout track and although it won’t be winning any prizes for originality it’s the kind of pop gem that is easily swallowed and enjoyable to listen to on repeat. The fuzzy guitars and vocal hooks do most of the heavy lifting here and throughout the EP, lending Gradient a cohesive sound. Far more seasoned bands struggle to achieve the cohesion that can be found on this EP, however such success is moot, because the record doesn’t really go anywhere. The band settle down into their formula of reverb, fuzzy guitar, simple drums and even simpler lyrics and barely deviate.

How Long ‘Til I Know is all about the reverb and the simple instrumentation seems to serve as a base for the vocals though it doesn’t do much else. As the jangly guitar intro and echoed vocals of Fall Guy begin it’s hard not to think of bands like The Vaccines or even Humbug-era Arctic Monkeys. It seems set to be just another reverbed shoegazer when it is suddenly redeemed by a chorus melody reminiscent of Talking Heads’ catchy hook in Road To Nowhere. Do You Know Why and Gradient pick up the pace a little into more rocky territory and though it really feels like the band are about to shift gears, in the end they never quite make it anywhere.

Gradient is a difficult record to review because you really want to like it, but it just doesn’t quite get over the line. The Creases never asked for the hype and the expectations that have been heaped upon them but it’s also not obvious exactly how the band has utilised the opportunities afforded to them by their early success. The tracks for the EP were actually recorded way back in November last year so perhaps The Creases have come a long way since then, but if Gradient is all there is to judge their progress there’s certainly something left to be desired.

- Clare Armstrong.

Album Details

Album Title: Gradient
Artist: The Creases
Record Label: (Liberation / Mushroom)