Creep Wave have something to share with you. At first, I perceived it as merely a piece of cake, but as I cut into it I saw something else – something much more substantial. The Ottawa based group’s EP Winter Sucks begins with a thin slice of melodically frosted pop punk guitar, which is joined at full force by the hurried, driving pound of the rhythm section. Immediately the head nods, the sun shines and we are in a place that we have been to before. But then, of course, comes the opening line, as vocalist Brittany Neron asks, “why don’t you smile?”. The album’s first cut, ‘”Cat Call”, should become a permanent installation on the streets of Ottawa, so next time when some seedy bastard passes unsolicited comment on a woman’s appearance, she can point towards one of the mounted speakers before telling him to fuck off. It is a frustrated and poignant reply to this kind of street harassment, told with wit and a sneer; a refreshing burst of personal commentary that carries with it great social significance. This is exactly the kind of voice we need to hear in punk today.
Essentially punk musicians, and to a similar extent all artists, should continually strive to re-invent the genre in which they are working, and if they are acting with an honest intention, they will succeed and carry with them a mark of personal innovation. Some choose to eschew the traditional forms of rock to seek new voice in experimentation, some choose to share original voices that are reflective of a personal struggle within a particular culture that is in need of re-invention. With “Cat Call”, I feel that Creep Wave have touched on to something special.
Elsewhere on the album we are buffeted about by tiny storms of power-pop and surf-inflected garage rock. Angst and melody co-exist with a mercurial sense of playfulness. “Sick Note” is a brilliant spray of attitude across a rollicking tom-roll; surf-trash for urban living, and anyone alive in Ottawa will understand “Outside”, the seasonal affective track that harkens to the title of the EP.
Winter Sucks is a tight, bright ray of sweet sunshine shone down to cut through the murk of a February afternoon. There is much here to recommend, in particular the first track which, when taken together with the energy and integrity of their sound, points to a promising future for Creep Wave.
Catch Creep Wave, Cheap Wine and The Disasterbaters at House of TARG this Friday, February 5th, event here.