February 25, 2014 - Run For Cover
Creative Adult are an actual post-hardcore band, including ex-members of defunct California acts Life Long Tragedy and All Teeth (both of whom toyed with the hardcore formula) playing something deviating noticeably from the style. After promising EPs in 2012 and 2013, the quintet have cultivated a sound for their first LP that uniquely hybridizes noise-hardcore's grumpy drawl (think Pissed Jeans) with a more straightforward strain of early post-punk gloom (think Bauhaus), expectedly and thoroughly cleansed in reverb and satisfyingly organic tape hiss.
Psychic Mess might feel dull and one-dimensional on the first few plays, but the dynamics of its overdriven riffs and slurring and snarling vocals come to life if you pay attention on repeated listens. If it doesn't, the garage-punk flair that surfaces during the middle of the record (peaking with "Half Way") should at least provide some enthralling compensation. When things slow down, it's a cellar-dwelling vibe that, when the lyrics can be made out, make for contemplative soul-searching and desperate attempts to exorcise personal demons, best highlighted by the excellent closing pair of "Exposed" and "Haunt." Creative Adult live up to their name well enough on this full-length debut, but they sound truly realized and focused by Psychic Mess' finale, with the band sorting out confused emotions per the title but landing musically right on point.