The Pierces - Creation
In the hyper-vigilant, leak-paranoid world of record labels, albums sometimes don't reach the review desk until a few days in advance of release, yet we first heard The Pierces' fifth studio album Creation back at the end of March before our chat with them (catch up with that interview here). Re-scheduled for June before being bumped again for an Autumnal release, the delay has certainly given us time to give it a good mulling over.
However much you try to spin it, the album reviewing process is often a very immediate thing: as deadlines loom, gut instinct takes over. You can surmise how an album will hold up but, unless you're spinning a very concrete masterpiece in your CD player, it's sometimes guesswork. With Creation, these very thoughts are being typed five months after our first listen. As such, we're as confident as we've ever been with our verdict.
Yet after all this preamble, our sense is that Creation is just a solid, sometimes very good, album. The time has done little to shake us of the notion that's it very front-loaded, and not just because singles 'Believe In Me', 'Kings' and 'Creation' are dispatched early on. 'Come Alive' bustles with an energy and drive that's a world away from the folkier leanings of You & I, but it's a vibe that only really surfaces again in 'The Devil Is A Lonely Night'.
The second half of Creation is a succession of slight variations on the same blueprint. There is a welcome reappearance of the dreamier soundscape of Thirteen Tales Of Love And Revenge, but a notable lack of the distinct hooks that distinguished tracks on You & I. Too many tracks blend into the background, merging into one on reflection, with the dramatic 'Monsters' the main exception.
Perhaps industry machinations have done The Pierces a disservice. A tighter deadline would have left less time for Creation's flaws to become apparent. 'Believe In Me', 'Kings' and 'Monsters' are up there with the duo's best work, but the rest often feels just too familiar.