Creative Adult – Psychic Mess

written by: February 17, 2014
Album-art-for-Psychic-Mess-by-Creative-Adult Release Date: February 25, 2014


San Francisco post-punkers Creative Adult are anything but laid-back with Psychic Mess.

Harnessing the most essential aspects of ‘80s post-punk with influences that range from Joy Division to Black Flag, Creative Adult is a sterling representative of the Northern California hardcore and punk scene.

Preceded by a handful of EPs and collaborations, this full-length debut overshadows them all and marks a shift in style for the four-piece known for a harsher sound. Psychic Mess is a fuzzy, sonic, dark, and aggressive venture in post-punk and noise, all with a California vibe.

That vibe is most present on “Far Out,” a slow-growing head-banger with a string-bending riff akin to the opening of Nirvana’s “Come as You Are.” Creative Adult’s skewed style of building sound gives the album its playfully aggressive character.

Prominently featuring Goth-rock, haze, and the group’s staple method of piling of riffs on riffs, Psychic Mess demonstrates an ability to craft gripping hooks outside of conventions.

Released by Run for Cover Records (Modern Baseball, Pity Sex) and produced by Efrim Menuck of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, it’s a good album, but misses the mark when it comes to being memorable.

Album opener “Control My Eyes” is a rock-ish, feedback-heavy jam with crashing cymbals and snake rattles. Male belting à la Ian Curtis pervades much of the album, except for “Psychic Message.” The foursome takes the track title literally, omitting vocals and letting the far-out, psychedelic, hazy instrumentals speak instead. And using the opposite mentality, closing track “Haunt” is more rocking and rambunctious than it is haunting.

Arguably one of the most enjoyable tracks on Psychic Mess, “Flash” totes a chugging bass line and sick minor-key guitar riffs, demonstrating the group’s solid melodic and rhythmic sensibilities.

The Bay Area four-piece is a lot like a more sonic, effects-heavy Fugazi, only not as good as Fugazi. The potential is there, but the group is reaching for something it hasn’t gotten ahold of yet. It lacks a resounding hit like Fugazi’s “Waiting Room”; The infectious single “Deep End” comes close, but lacks the same punch. Regardless, it’s unlikely that something so trivial as a hit is of great concern to Creative Adult.

It’s a punk band with a taste for energetic brooding. A stand-out, raucous party-anthem, “Everyone Knows Everyone,” aptly features fast rhythms and vocals screaming, “Everyone knows everyone.” The track’s style is clearly an ode to raw, honest music played to audiences of flailing friends in pits and basements.

Creative Adult’s honesty and visceral, energetic songwriting brings a listener into the backyard, dark venue, or house party where the album was probably born. The foursome is obviously connected to its Northern California scene, its roots, and is still the same rough-around-the edges group that laid down the preceding, less-stylish EPs. Psychic Mess isn’t perfect, but perfection isn’t exactly punk.

Creative Adult – Psychic Mess tracklist:

  1. “Control My Eyes”
  2. “Charismatic Leader “
  3. “Flash”
  4. “Far Out”
  5. “Halfway”
  6. “Hyper-aware”
  7. “Public Transit”
  8. “Psychic Message”
  9. “Deep End”
  10. “Everyone Knows Everyone”
  11. ”Exposed”
  12. “Haunt”