Creative Adult Colors Outside the Lines of Punk

Grim as it may be, Creative Adult's music encourages listeners to avoid passivity.EXPAND
Grim as it may be, Creative Adult's music encourages listeners to avoid passivity.
MJ Bernier

Creative Adult’s early seven-inch singles were often presented as punk, but their relatively nondescript cover art gave little away about the music within. Certainly punk seemed to be at the root of it, but it was also noisier than that, more willing to color outside the lines of what punk had become by 2012.

“We have a lot of different ideas coming from a lot of different places,” says singer Scott Phillips. “What influences us as people can be quite different. We just try to throw all our ideas into a hat, so to speak, and not necessarily have a plan going forward. We like to explore new sounds and try new things. We had no plan when we started the band. We just wanted to make good music and not make the same record twice.”

After releasing those first singles, Creative Adult developed at a rapid pace. By the time its debut album, 2014’s Psychic Mess, came out, it sounded like a very different group. The creative arc was not unlike what Coliseum did between its 2004 debut and 2015’s Anxiety’s Kiss, or Ceremony’s progression from its early hardcore records to 2015’s very moody, post-punk The L-Shaped Man.

Psychic Mess sounded as though the band had deconstructed psychedelic rock and infused it with wild, raw energy.

“With Psychic Mess, we just wanted to make a crazy album,” says Phillips. “To me, it sounds more like a live record. I think there are a lot of people who loved the way that record sounded and a lot of people who don’t really understand it, which is okay. To me, that record is more of an experience than an album.”

For its latest endeavor, 2016’s Fear of Life, Creative Adult examines our world, which seems to Phillips to be on the brink of social, political, economic and environmental disaster.

“The title comes from a poem I wrote a couple of years ago,” he says. “I think it’s [a commentary] on what’s going on in the world right now. It’s chaotic and mad, and there’s so much crazy shit going on all the time. I think people are denying themselves their true potential as people to live the way they want to live. There’s a Henry Miller quote I really like: ‘Every day we slaughter our finest impulses...because we [lack] the faith to believe in our own powers.’”

But the album isn’t all despair; rather, it’s a prescription for what ails the world Phillips sees around him. Listeners are encouraged to do something instead of being swept up by the worst of the world or falling into a state of psychological paralysis.

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“If death is the worst that happens, it doesn’t seem that bad to me,” says Phillips. “What you do before that is what you should be focusing on. I think, in general, people are disconnected and don’t want to think about things like that. They’d rather turn on the television and take sleeping pills or [whatever] instead of [waking up to] this sense of empowerment: ‘I can do whatever I want right now.’

“In the end,” he concludes, “the sun is going to eat the earth, so make shit.”

Creative Adult plays at 7 p.m. Wednesday, August 24, at the Moon Room at Summit Music Hall, 1902 Blake Street, $8-$10, all ages, 303-487-0111. 

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