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Music Review: Creature Feature – The Greatest Show Unearthed

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With a debut album mired in one-dimensional themes, Creature Feature's entree into the music biz amounts to them shooting themselves in the foot. They've stopped painfully short of the heights they could’ve achieved with The Greatest Show Unearthed, a collection of lighthearted, death-and-dismemberment-themed tunes heavy on the sampling and light on the guitar.

It’s clear that Creature Feature’s two members have creativity spilling out their costume-bedecked asses – what’s less clear is why they chose to go a route that portrays them as caricatures rather than flesh and blood entertainers, sequestering themselves in a myopically self-indulgent corner of the New Cabaret movement that leaves one with the impression that they’re a one trick pony.

It’s listenable, but it’s very much niche music. Whereas others used the carnival-horror theme as a jumping-off point for their own style (see Zombie, Rob, Babies, Stolen), Creature Feature have done themselves a disservice by appropriating that theme alone as their entire style… with little added to make it their own.

In doing so, they've trapped themselves in an intentionally hokey, Edward Gorey-inspired universe where their ability to expand is limited and their sound quickly becomes boring. The lack of personal infusion leaves The Greatest Show on Earth feeling stiltedly innocent and unhuman; it has a cookie-cutter, prescribed creepiness that’s too cartoonish to serve as something the listener can connect with on any kind of emotional level.

They do show promise on the surf-inspired “Corpse in my Bed,” which demonstrates that they are, in fact, eminently capable of producing more than a Danny Elfman-style soundtrack (see the title track for something that smacks of The Nightmare Before Christmas), and it would be a sin to imply that they aren’t adept musicians in their own right.

The keys and pipe organ do pump out some wicked tunes- especially on “Six Foot Deep,” despite the lyrics still leaving something to be desired (Planning out my grim demise/ someday we all shall die is nothing if not cliché, even when sung tongue-in-cheek)- and the employment of unconventional sounds is a welcome respite from the usual synth effects heard in digitally-supplemented music. The concept of the album on the whole, though, detracts from these accomplishments, burying them under thick layers of stage makeup and trite personas.

On the other hand, if you’re planning to host the kind of haunted house where you “scare” people by having them put their hand into a jar of peeled grapes and telling them they’re eyeballs, here’s your background music.

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About McMayhem

  • http://www.myspace.com/punkparanoia Moz

    Ha, this is the most negative review I’ve seen about Creature Feature.

    Well, you’re entitled to your opinion.

    I found it amusing that you found promise in “A Corpse in My Bed”, their self-described “shitty attempt at a rock song.”

    I must say, though, there are a lot of us (people who like Creature Feature, that is) that can relate to their songs. Not as in “I want to be buried alive,” but it reminds us of growing up watching horror movies.

    In my case, “Look To The Skies” reminds me of when I was a little kid, thinking that the aliens were going to get me. That may seem like a bad thing, but I cherish anything that brings back memories of my childhood, be the memories good or bad.

    I also happen to love their sound, because it sounds different from what most people are producing these days, in my opinion. I don’t think music has set ideas, I like what I like, even if no one else does.

    You may very well not like my favorite bands, but I’m not going to yell at you because you don’t like them (or because you’ve basically flat out insulted them)

    I’ll just have you hear my side, and I won’t expect you to change your ideas a bit.

    Thank you for listening :)

  • keonin

    these guys are really good. the fact that the have mixed heavy synthesizer and horror themed lyrics is just amazing.

  • Lorna

    Creature Feature’s likely one of the best bands I’ve heard yet. I love their sound, and their lyrics are awesome. Many of their fans really can identify with them and their music.

    On another note, I find it funny that you found their song A Corpse In My Bed promising when they described it as a “shitty attempt at a rock song.” Evidently, you are looking for a cookie-cutter rock band. I can assure you that Creature Feature is anything but ordinary and cookie-cutter, as they have a musical style no one else has.

    I’m not going to expect that you will adopt my ideas about this band; however, I do ask that you not judge them quite so harshly when they are obviously not the type of band you had in mind.

    Thanks for listening.

    Signed,
    a faithful CF fan

  • FanOfCreatureFeature

    *Loses all respect for this site*

    Go back to listening you the crappy bands that repeat the same music, lines, and well…
    everything.

    (Because that’s how most bands that come even CLOSE to creature feature sound like)

    Good’ay to you, then.