CLARABELLE AND THE CREEPS: The Modern Underground Sound of Muscle Shoals Soul: LP

I fell in love with this record from the moment the needle hit the wax. Then I did some research on the band and found out that I loved them even more. It was like having a major crush on someone and then discovering that they’re both single and interested in you. This musical outfit is extremely eclectic—tambourine, saxophone, accordion—but one of the greatest instruments that certainly reaches its highest potential, is Clarabelle’s voice. After the first spin I was catching remnants of Shannon And The Clams with Hunx And His Punx as the backing band. Songs are cutesy, tongue-in-cheek, and sweet. They’re about being in love with vampires and ghouls, and whining about dumb boys. Then came the realization that Clarabelle is fourteen years old and that her dad (of the Pine Hill Haints) started this band up for her specifically. Their cover of Dion And The Belmonts’ “Teenager in Love” is so much more apt now. As are lyrics like, “I hate these guys / I want to be just like them / I just wanna dance,” and “Dumb boys / I don’t like them / I guess I’ll always be frustrated.” I usually hate it when a band is heralded for being comprised of people outside the narrow binary of punk rock (i.e. non-white, straight males), but in this case I feel it’s worth noting. This teen has some serious chops and one of those “old soul” voices with just a tinge of Cyndi Lauper. Musically, The Creeps are similar to the Ronnettes and Ritchie Valens for the modern world. Definitely a record that will stick with me for 2016. 

 –Kayla Greet (Arkam, arkamrecords.net)