In a matter of weeks, after lamenting a drought of new music, I received three albums that I couldn’t stop spinning. There was The Penske File’s Salvation, Spanish Love Songs’ Schmaltz, and The Creeps’ Beneath the Pines. I’ve purged my thoughts in reviews, countless listens, and dozens of personal recommendations, but still, these are the records I can’t shake—three distinct visions of what modern punk rock can be, built on the foundation of expert songwriting.
Beneath the Pines isn’t out yet, but it has a special place among the three. It shares members with Crusades, a fantastic band that shocked the punk community by announcing their departure earlier this month; and comes as the follow-up to Eulogies, an album that allowed the Creeps to stretch their chops and become known as one of pop punk’s foremost songsmiths. While the connection is inevitable, to say that The Creeps is Crusades’ little brother—a near consolation prize to fans—is to ignore the band’s twenty years playing, releasing, and evolving. Beneath the Pines is a great album, no matter its relation—a singular vision, powered by introspection, killer melodies, and the sort of songwriting that marks you for life. It’s at once melancholy and hopeful, and with a few deft lyrics, will endear the hardest hearts into a singalong.
I was lucky enough to exchange emails with vocalist/guitarist Skottie Lobotomy on the new album, his songwriting process, and what it means to be punk through introspection. Check out the interview below.