Release Date: Feb 25, 2014
Record label: Run for Cover Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Noise-Rock, Shoegaze
Creative Adult has a different sound than most of the Run For Cover roster which helps them stand out a bit more. After Bulls In The Yard last year, you could tell they needed just a little push again to complement their attitude and retro-punk sound. Well, Psychic Mess offers just that.There's a pretty sweet ring to the '80s punk, Bay Area sound they bring to the fore here and a large portion of the record comes off like a great mix of Fugazi meets Joy Division.
Following a string of EP and 7" releases, San Francisco-based punk quartet Creative Adult unleashed their dark, aggressive energy in the longer format of their first full-length album, Psychic Mess. From their earliest recordings, the band's early goth influences always came through in a complex web with more contemporary reference points. Psychic Mess feels like a better-realized version of the band's weird mixture of Bauhaus or Joy Division-styled shadowy imagery and musical tension spun out through the nihilistic punk noise of bands like Pissed Jeans and Holograms.
California’s musical youth seems constantly affiliated with skateboarding, drugs and hardcore. While San Francisco ragers Creative Adult recall the Circle Jerks and the scene’s intoxicated 1980s heyday, the five-piece actually formed to navigate away from the hardcore sound of their previous bands, Life Long Tragedy and Purple Mercy. ‘Psychic Mess’, recorded in Montreal with Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s Efrim Menuck, ploughs back to California through Portland and Washington, via Fugazi and The Wipers.
If you were to make a list of what a perfect punk album ‘should’ sound like you could run through each constituent part of ‘Psychic Mess’ ticking the boxes without much doubt. However if the question asked was ‘Does Psychic Mess stand up as a perfect punk album?’, it’d take an almost dangerous level of kindness to suggest ‘yes’.Realistically it’s committing the cardinal sin for an album of its type: it sounds studied but it doesn’t sound authentic. Mostly Creative Adult rely on just getting things right and grinding their way through - the album doesn’t seethe or writhe with tension, it’s not so loose it’s raw, nor so tight so it’s formidable.
Creative Adult are an actual post-hardcore band, including ex-members of defunct California acts Life Long Tragedy and All Teeth (both of whom toyed with the hardcore formula) playing something deviating noticeably from the style. After promising EPs in 2012 and 2013, the quintet have cultivated a sound for their first LP that uniquely hybridizes noise-hardcore's grumpy drawl (think Pissed Jeans) with a more straightforward strain of early post-punk gloom (think Bauhaus), expectedly and thoroughly cleansed in reverb and satisfyingly organic tape hiss. Psychic Mess might feel dull and one-dimensional on the first few plays, but the dynamics of its overdriven riffs and slurring and snarling vocals come to life if you pay attention on repeated listens.