Simple Creatures – Strange Love EP
Released: March 29th, 2019
Mark Hoppus // Bass & Vocals
Alex Gaskarth // Guitar & Vocals
The concept for this band is exactly what you’d imagine from members like Mark Hoppus of blink-182 and Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low. A pop punk icon and a pop punk legend teaming up for the ultimate pop rock, synth-infused side project with no expectations or limitations for what they want to do and the end result is, well, let’s take a look.
The Strange Love EP opens with the catchy as fuck debut single ‘Drug‘ which is is complete with plenty of “nah-nahs“, chirpy/upbeat tempo and both frontman’s personas throughout. The song changes the mood a few times throughout, but still manages to maintain your attention from start to finish. I liked it when it first came out and I still dig it now. The follow-up single (and EP title track) ‘Strange Love‘ however, didn’t catch me on the first couple of spins and listening again a few weeks later, it still doesn’t hit the mark compared to the other singles they released. Probably because it’s more mellow and less upbeat, like a song you play when you’re cruising around in your new whip at age 18 or so (let’s face it, that’s the target demographic for this band right!?). It may grow on me over time, but for now I’m giving it a hard pass.
‘How To Live‘ kicks things off with a balladesque vibe blended with new age rap/singing (think Post Malone) and plenty of synth. Despite being slow like the previous track, this one adds a bit more depth to it with the different tones in the singing, background music and drumming, especially when the chorus kicks in. ‘Adrenaline‘ brings the pace back with a faster-momentum banger of a track that just makes you want to nod your head and move about. It’s not moshpit inducing (come on, it’s pop rock) but it’s upbeat enough to maybe get some bodies moving in a live setting
‘Ether‘ is up next and it’s another slow jam with Hoppus taking the lead vocals. This one is very ambient, synth-driven and electronic drums make up the majority of the instrumentals in it, but, it works. If you’re not expecting anything similar to a blink or ATL album, you’ll probably enjoy this more than you think. The EP ends with ‘Lucy‘ and despite having some electric guitar (well I think it is), it’s still more synth-pop than rock. However, the more you listen to it, the more you start to get into it. Its been a long time since I’ve heard songs with beautifully sung “ooohs”, but the melodies between Mark and Alex are just too good. They work so well together it’s a surprise why they didn’t team up earlier on in their careers.
This side project is hella different. Like most band members who attempt something different (away from the entity that gained them success and notoriety), it’s hard to go into it with an open mind at first, mainly because you’re stuck in the past or attached to what they’ve done musically before, but I commend Mark Hoppus and Alex Gaskarth for this effort. Simple Creatures is something new where both members can showcase a different style to their usual bands and bring in a batch of newer fans who might now know who they were. It’s a smart strategy and it takes balls to be able to do it. Sure it’s not the best blink-182 side-project out of all of them, but it’s certainly the most different in style and genre.
Simple Creatures – Strange Love EP tracklisting
2. Strange Love
3. How To Live