My first experience of Indian Handcrafts was the very entertaining video for Bruce Lee, the opening song on their enjoyable 2012 Sargent House début Civil Disobedience For Losers. I was immediately drawn in by their unashamedly fun, but it should be stressed not novelty, approach to mixing sludge metal, punk and stoner rock. On Creeps they have now added an element of 80s metal to their already varied sound, and thankfully the Canadian duo haven’t diverged too much from their winning formula. Indian Handcrafts’ follow up to Civil… has a slightly less humorous feel but it’s still a joyous serving of riff heavy noise-rock.
Creeps demonstrates Indian Handcrafts‘ dexterous song-writing from start to finish, it’s unpredictable and never settles too long on one pattern or style but always maintains an accessibility that allows the listener to get into the groove. And boy, is there a lot of groove on Creeps! Every song contains at least one section that, unless you’re dead inside, will get your head bopping and foot tapping, or at times banging and stomping.
Indian Handcrafts are clearly influenced by Melvins and Big Business, but their sound is different enough from each as to not act as a poor parody. As with those bands, Indian Handcrafts benefit greatly from having both members share vocal duties, varying from eccentrically accented screams and shouts to layered harmonies and cheerleading style chants. Most of the songs don’t have a constant vocal style but this doesn’t ever take away from how catchy and approachable Creeps is. It’s surely a good sign that within only a few listens I found myself trying, and mostly failing miserably, to sing and shout along.
I feel that I’m doing the album a disservice by naming only a couple of highlights, but both Murderers For Hire and Brothers Underground are particularly wonderful. The opening to It’s Late Queeny and the chugging, guitar riffs on Brothers Underground show that Indian Handcrafts are as adept at playing feel-good stoner rock as they are aggressive sludge. The 80s metal influence can be heard through various parts of the album, particularly the Van Halen style riff that introduces Maelstrom and the solo on The Divider, the chorus of which sounds like a mix between Maiden’s The Trooper and Mastodon.
Even though Indian Handcrafts are undoubtedly a pair of excellent musicians, none of Creeps is unnecessarily over-elaborate and all of the songs lack any pretension – there might be wailing, intricate guitar solos and complex drumming but that all just adds to the fun. The duo is clearly out to have an absolute blast making catchy, loud music and luckily for us that attitude is contagious.
Sargent House has been on a bit of a roll lately, they’ve already put out two of the best albums of 2015 (Mutoid Man’s Bleeder and Abyss by Chelsea Wolfe, in case you were wondering) and can now add another outstanding album in Creeps to their roster.