BAND OF THE WEEK: CREEPOID + PSYCHIC TEENS

8 Apr

The question of what the quality, creepy moon-rock of Creepoid has in common with the slashed-speaker Siouxie-suicide of Psychic Teens is the immediate question of the day.

Our easy answer would be their shared headquarters of Philadelphia, the beautiful and beaming “City of Brotherly Love,” its very name an echo of the people-power of Greece, philos (“loving”) and adelphos (“brother”), sitting side-by-side.

And as we come to praise both Creepoid and Psychic Teens in that spirit of brotherly love, we reflect on the words of the now seriously dead Philadelphian Ben Franklin, who declared, “Mankind naturally and generally love to be flatter’d.”

However, a more contemporary figure of the American Enlightenment, less charitably but more directly addressed Philadelphia this way: “You fucking one bridge-having piece of shit city that no one gives a fuck about.”

We hear more than a bit of that duality, the bite and fight of reaching out for brotherly love in both Psychic Teens and Creepoid, and we’re flatter’d that they share those sounds with us all.

Falling in love with the music of Psychic Teens is some feat, given the vicious piledriver the soul-grating shoe-gazers give to the the loving heart on their debut, “Teen.” Like the tribute their fair city paid to their Greek forefathers, the Psychic Teens have no qualms with saluting the works that precede them, wielding their mutated sonic sword of volume in defense of the loveless and the damaged, with the raw power of Dr. Henry Philip “Hank” McCoy.

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It’s a telepathic defense mostly, befitting the their paranormal name, while concisely capturing that desperately teenage condition of damaged love.

Download “Kira” by Psychic Teens, from the album, “Teen.”

“From the darkest corners of this godless world, we will rise,” goes the prayer of the Psychic Teens on “Kira,” only a song after posing the ominous question, “Do we share the same disease?” on the album opener.

Both songs set the stage for the blue-hued blueprint of the Teens’ sound: bass and drum as anchor, guitar as a healing, hair-raising bone-saw. If the shared disease is damaged love, then that disease has reached terminal state by the time the listener reaches the album-closing, head-snapping doom-gaze of “Rose.”

“Time has healed nothing, I’m empty inside … Time is not by my side,” goes the refrain, the perfect, coffin-rocking end of the first flight by these adult teenagers from Philly, by way of Mars (and they don’t care).

But Psychic Teens must care, or they wouldn’t have been able to make an album as fine as “Teen.” Through our own psychic-optics, we hear “Teen” as a more universal funeral, a cosmic casket of sound.

Damaged love neither begins nor ends with the teenage years, the word “teenage” itself only recently created (cosmically speaking, of course) to capture and categorize that turbulent timeframe when the folds in our brain shift and mutate, producing these new, crooked emotions – perhaps even the damaged love of Psychic Teens. We eagerly await what springs from the next fold that growing in their explosive psychic brain – perhaps even the Easter-like resurrection of philos.

Given their name, there’s a pleasantly peculiar amount of philos in the sound of the Creepoid with the atom brain, a collection of fellow Philadelphians, whose wild, wondrous sonic sculpture honors the spirit of a different kind of Easter, a different hero‘s battle.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App

Horse Heaven” as an album – and Creepoid as a live band – is time-tested without being aged. We’d dare to even reach a step closer toward grandeur and pomposity and declare their sound – as heard among an astonishing orbit of crawling, crooning punk-folk-psych-rock hooks and highlights throughout repeated rides in the saddle of “Horse Heaven” – as that of a celestial stallion, reflective and regretful of being halter-broke.

We would, but that would be creepy.

Which reflects one of the great pleasures of the Creepoid sound: It’s as beautiful, as measured and as musically mature as it is creepy. They are a mutation – they are Creepoid.

Maybe Creepoid embody that sentiment of philos, in the way those ancient Greeks meant it when they rocked out with their kouloukaria out: as a uniting desire, a natural enjoyment of friends and activities.

Not that “Horse Heaven” is any less of a love-in-a-void experience because of it. The crooked emotions are still out in full force, as they always are, teen or not, from Philly or Mars. It’s just that Creepoid seem creepily adept at “driving straight down a crooked road,” as harmonized on “Stranger” – a tiny masterpiece of a song with an off-kilter drive and decency that reminds our ears and hearts of still another hero of the American Enlightenment, and still another kind of love. Never mind the “Spirit of ’76″ – this is the Creepoid spirit.

Download “Spirit Birds” by Creepoid, from the album “Horse Heaven.”

It’s a groovy, ghoul-ey kind of love that fuels the cosmic Creepoid call we hear in our brain. It’s time-tested – an eternal trip down a crooked road lined with those crooked emotions, full of fears and giant beers, but we wouldn’t want it any other way – which is great, because love – especially the psychedelic, philodemic love of a Creepoid – isn’t offered any other way.

“The Faith you mention has doubtless its use in the World. I do not desire to see it diminished, nor would I endeavour to lessen it in any Man. But I wish it were more productive of good Works, than I have generally seen it: I mean real good Works, Works of Kindness, Charity, Mercy, and Publick Spirit; not Holiday-keeping, Sermon-Reading or Hearing; performing Church Ceremonies, or making long Prayers, filled with Flatteries and Compliments, despis’d even by wise Men, and much less capable of pleasing the Deity. The worship of God is a Duty; the hearing and reading of Sermons may be useful; but, if Men rest in Hearing and Praying, as too many do, it is as if a Tree should Value itself on being water’d and putting forth Leaves, tho’ it never produc’d any Fruit.” – Benjamin “Bad Brains” Franklin, Letter to Joseph Huey (6 June 1753); published in Albert Henry Smyth, The Writings of Benjamin Franklin, volume 3, p. 145.

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