Album Review: The Creepshow – They All Fall Down
They All Fall Down
If there’s something to be taken away from The Creepshow’s third major release, They All Fall Down, it’s that someone has really pissed them off. Even though lead lady Sarah “Sin” Blackwood is tiny and sweet, I wouldn’t want to get on her bad side; it looks like she has a pretty good left hook.
Having stepped into her big sister’s shoes as lead Creepshow vocalist just before the recording of their last album, Run For Your Life, Sarah has since stepped up her game. Her vocal range is dramatically expanded, which she shows off on this album. ‘Last Chance’ has her alternating between sweet melodies and sneering hooks. ‘Going Down’ starts off as a soft synth ballad but quickly degenerates into a growling, venomous chorus, “You dug this one my darling, so lie in it you piece of shit, it’s all going down now.” Hints of old-school Gwen Stefani and Dolly Parton surface on a few tracks too. This progress might have something to do with the two alt-country solo albums Sarah released between Creepshow efforts.
Sarah isn’t the only one growing on this album. The band as a whole has developed immensely by taking a step outside the Horrorbilly genre in which they were conceived. Not an easy thing to do, especially in categories as pigeonholed as this one. Reverend McGinty’s Halloweeny organ tickling takes a back seat to Sickboy’s fast upright-bass slapping Psychobilly on this one. Some songs, namely ‘Hellbound’ have an almost ska-punk feel to them (complete with horns). ‘Sleep Tight’ is a twist on a 50’s ‘Earth Angel’ type song. Its sickly-sweet tune contrasts morbidly with the lyrics, “Oh, you can’t kill a girl without her soul sticking around. Oh sleep tight my boy, I’ll be watching you with undead eyes”. Bassist Sean “Sickboy” McNab’s vocals are also featured a lot more prominently throughout the album.
As previously mentioned, this album is more vengeful than ghoulish. The main themes are retribution, admonishing the sins of others and watching the bad guys fall. For those who still crave blood, guts and horror, there’s some of that too. ‘They All Fall Down’ has a zombie-esque motif, ironic gore fills ‘Sleep Tight’ and mentions of nightmares, death and screaming find themselves peppered through the rest of the album.
Even though The Creepshow is steadily gaining popularity and critical acclaim, they stay loyal to their friends and fans; both of which are present on the record. Tour-mates The Dreadnoughts make several appearances on the album, as does Sarah’s brother Ian. Photography for the album cover is done as usual by Toronto photographer and friend, Ashlea Wessel. And on that cover are a bunch of fans from the Toronto area, or those who traveled to Toronto to be a part of the magic.
Overall this album has a maturity and quality of production that can only come with years of experience. The vocals and instrumental layering is rich and full. Instead of Sarah’s voice being supported by McGinty and Sickboy, their vocals weave in and out of each other, creating depth and variety. Even though I first heard a lot of similarities between this album and Run For Your Life, it’s clear that They All Fall Down is a step in a new direction for The Creepshow. They’ve managed to balance their loyalty to their Horrorbilly roots while continuing to evolve, something not every band can withstand.
(Original publication: Bring Back the Boom Box Magazine- Oct 12 2010)
Posted on March 7, 2011, in Album Reviews and tagged Ashlea Wessel, Going Down, Hellbound, Horrorbilly, Ian Blackwood, Last Chance, Psychobilly, Reverend McGinty, Run For Your Life, Sarah “Sin” Blackwood, Sean “Sickboy” McNab, Sleep Tight, The Creepshow, The Dreadnoughts, They All Fall Down, Toronto. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.