EP Review: Salem – Salem

Creeper’s Will Gould drops a treat just in time for Halloween with his Salem side-band…

EP Review: Salem – Salem
Nick Ruskell

The city of Salem, Massachusetts is this year warning people to stay away for Halloween. Which, with the deadly virus context, actually sounds more like a horror plot than sensible civil advice. But still, if you can’t go to the site of America’s infamous witch trials, Salem can still come to you. To wit, Just in time for spooky-Christmas, Creeper frontman Will Gould’s new band named in the city’s honour have dropped their debut EP, a slick dash of horror-punk cool with black fingernails and an even blacker heart.

Yer man Gould hasn’t had to go a million miles to get here, mind. Frankly, he’s barely had to go much further than the front door. Salem’s similarities to the early works of his day band are blindingly obvious, but then, to expect otherwise from such a dyed-in-the-wool spooky chap as Will would be to expect a cat to suddenly start mooing. And these songs are great – fat-free, swaggering cuts of greased-up Americana-via-Southampton punk loaded with prom kings and queens, pocket knives and doomed romance. Opener Fall Out Of Love is an MCR-ish banger that dares to gamble with rhyming ‘Apparition’ with ‘In the kitchen’ (and wins, actually), a vibe continued on single Destroy Me. Throat takes a more sing-along tone, if you want to sing-along ‘So wrap your hands around my throat’, and Doomed (For Each Other) is a superb, speedy bit of bubblegum-punk that excites with its sugary rush.

Having already made a cracker this year with Creeper’s excellent Sex, Death & The Infinite Void, if nothing else Salem prove what a good songwriter Will is. Whether this is just a lockdown laugh or if it’s destined to grow into something more proper remains to be seen, but for five tracks, Salem are an energetic, charismatic escape into a world that seems far more promising and exciting than the real one. Stay out of Salem? Not when it’s this irresistible.

Verdict: 4/5

For Fans Of: My Chemical Romance, Grave Pleasures, AFI

Salem is released on October 23 via Roadrunner.

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