Artist: Creative Adult
Album: Psychic Mess
Label: Run For Cover Records
When you get out of art/film/writing/music school, you enter a new world where you balance working for a living, and creating said art that you invested in while in school. A good way to describe this time of your life would be a “creative adult”. This also can be described as a period of ones life where they decide to not focus on one creative path, and become a dreaded “jack-of-all-trades” artist while still working a day job, or in other words a “creative adult.” Bay-Area punk rockers Creative Adult are paying homage to these Earth-held denizens with a brand new LP Psychic Mess which firmly establishes themselves as bona fide artists, but ones that have paid homage to their 80’s post-punk influence in the most ripping way.
Creative Adult had an auspicious beginning with a basic framework of post-punk rhythms on a few EP’s the past few years. With Psychic Mess it appears they have decided to break out of their California comfort zone and bring in Efrim Menuck (Godspeed You! Black Emperor) to give them a fresh perspective on the path they were already on. The results make their sound heavier, which is something that many punk bands strive for but never quite achieve. The heaviness comes not from the sonic chugging guitars or screaming vocals, but from the melodic turns the songs briefly take and pounding bass lines. “Control My Eyes” opens the album with a building thumper that has an ominous ticking sound that plays in the background of the opening riff. It’s just off-putting enough to lend a very foreboding tone that continues throughout the album.
“Charismatic Leader” flows nicely next with some riff-goodness, but it’s the in-between riffs that really make their sound stand out. When the bass line of “Flash” hits on the third track though, it lays down a completely new spin on the 80’s post-punk, and everything feels it’s going to explode with some inspired guitar riffs. “Far Out”, “Halfway”, and “Hyper-aware” are mostly standard upbeat punk numbers but there is a freshness in the garage sound, sometimes it’s just a subtle guitar tone, but there’s clearly some care that’s been put in the detail of these tracks to make them unique. “Public Transit” begins out their shoegaze influences, while “Psychic Message” brings out the garage rock, although they probably should have picked a different title for the latter that didn’t hit it so hard on the head.
“Deep End” is the first single off the album, and it could be the most accessible song for newbies to the group, and it is one of the more catchier riffs, although I’m not sure if it’s the most exciting song on the album. “Everyone Knows Everyone” is another peppy ode to social networking that breaks down at the end and seems to signify the end of this sound chapter of the album. “Exposed” returns to the post-punk rhythms which harkens back to “Flash” with the heavy bass lines, and just goes to show that it’s not always guitars that can make a punk rock record heavy. “Haunt” ends the album with a slower goth rocker, which isn’t very memorable, but it does include another ominous industrial banging which harkens back to the ticking at the beginning of the album.
Creative Adult are certainly on to something with Psychic Mess, I feel that it was probably to their benefit that they sought out Efrim Menuck to give their sound a freshness a solid post-punk record sounds needs, while never seeming to be that concerned with the “sound”. A band like these guys are probably not that concerned with becoming “stars”, but they do represent a large faction of individuals that are “creative adults”. Psychic Mess insures their place amongst the artists that have some real credibility to their name, and no doubt they’ll be taking this thrashing record on the road where their sound will hopefully continue to get evolve and get heavier.
– Michael Unger