From tour announcements to social media antics, Simple Creatures have been busy since their entrance into the pop-punk music scene. On top of all of this, they dropped their debut EP Strange Love on March 29. The EP consists of six songs, three of which had been dropped prior to the EP’s release. A fourth song had been teased to fans who sent emails to an address that the band unexpectedly tweeted out in the week leading up to the the 29th. After sending an email to the random address, the sender received a reply from the band containing a link to listen to a 40-second snippet of the song “Lucy.”
The EP opens with “Drug,” the duo’s first single released back in January. This song opens the record perfectly, setting up the rest of the songs with its crunchy electric guitar, catchy lyrics, and upbeat energy. Simple Creatures made the right decision introducing their band with the tune, as “Drug” comes in a close second for my favorite song from the EP. Following “Drug” is the second single dropped prior to the EP’s release, “Strange Love.” This track has more of a laid-back vibe, with Mark Hoppus speak-singing the verses comprised of strings of words that flow smoothly from one lyric to the next. In addition, the lyrics tell a fun story and are cohesive, reminiscent of All Time Low’s “Good Times” crossed with “Life of the Party.” Heavy on drums and subtle on guitar with an underlying bass line that resonates throughout the song, “Drug” is perfect for when you don’t quite want to dance but are in the mood to tap your toes and bop your head along to the beat.
Coming in at track number three is “How To Live,” my personal favorite on the EP and also my pick for best writing and lyrical content. While people generally base their opinions of a song on the sound, such as instrumentation and beat, I’ve always been a sucker for a good set of lyrics and “How To Live” definitely delivers. A story of a struggling love is told through beautiful metaphors and powerful lines that are left hanging in space for the listener to digest. One of two slower songs on the EP, this song opens with Alex Gaskarth’s vocals over minimal music before the chorus chimes in with Gaskarth and Hoppus singing together with a chant-like quality. The music in the song is minimal, only really picking up during the chorus before fading out again for the other verses. In terms of instrumentation, the song is comprised mainly of a heavy beat and some hints of guitar. The tune is relatively monotone and there aren’t any surprises throughout since the pace and mood remain constant. If you’re looking for a consistent, mellow vibe with creative storytelling lyrics, then “How To Live” is the Strange Love song for you.
Although track four has a favored hit preceding it, “Adrenaline” stands up to the competition. It brings back the poppy, fast-paced energy present in “Drug.” Catchy lyrics with quirky rhymes, memorable guitar riffs, and funky synth provide the main basis of the song. To give you a good idea of the chaotic-good energy that “Adrenaline” radiates, it’s the only song I can think of that fits the word “idiosyncratic” perfectly into both the song’s rhythm and the lyrical rhyme scheme. While the lyrics are sometimes silly, the rhyming is impressive and you’ll be too busy dancing along to question it. “Adrenaline” is the poppiest, danciest song on the EP by far and it does a great job fulfilling this role and re-energizing the listener at the halfway point of the EP.
The second to last track on Strange Love, “Ether,” is my least favorite track on the EP. “Ether” exudes a vibe similar to “How To Live” in that the music remains relaxed throughout the entirety of the song and the vocals also come across as laid-back. However, the song seems more repetitive than the others and doesn’t capture my attention because the vocals sound almost bored. After “Adrenaline,” “Ether” is the song you catch your breath to after dancing your heart out. The track fits the overall sound of the EP and is generally enjoyable to listen to, but pales in comparison to the other songs in terms of its lyrical content and instrumentation.
“Lucy” rounds out Simple Creatures’ debut release, and is both members’ favorite song on the EP. It opens with a funky, distorted guitar riff before Gaskarth’s vocals come in over a steady drum beat. The pre-chorus is quick, a long string of spoken rhymes that builds up to the extremely catchy and bright chorus. Regardless of your opinions on the song itself, there is no question that “Ooh-ooh-ooh // Gotta make an honest woman out of Lu-u-ucy” will be stuck in your head from the first time you hear it. The lyrics tell a fun story of a criminal on the run accompanied by the upbeat instrumentation, holding your attention from start to finish.
Overall, Simple Creatures fully embraced their self-proclaimed “trash-pop” genre throughout their entire EP, making for a fun, cohesive set of tracks that are lyrically captivating and musically intriguing. While Gaskarth has confirmed that All Time Low is still very much together and working on new music, it will be interesting to see where Simple Creatures goes after the release of Strange Love. Will there be more live shows? Will they write more music? Or will it remain a short-lived, spontaneous side project as intended? Only time will tell, but while we’re waiting to find out, be sure to stream Strange Love on Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube as well as follow the funky duo on Twitter and Instagram.
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