EP Review // SIMPLE CREATURES ‘Everything Opposite’
Synthpop power duo Mark Hoppus and Alex Gaskarth have released their second EP in the span of seven months, cranking out six songs for jam-packed Everything Opposite.
Mark Hoppus, of blink-182 fame, and Alex Gaskarth, vocalist of All Time Low, are undeniably two pop punk icons. Besides having their own ongoing main projects, of which Hoppus’ blink-182 just released album NINE, they have been cranking out EPs like a well-oiled machine.
Combining two talented songwriters with a knack for the weird proves to be an effective recipe for some emo bangers, written with a wink, which they themselves describe as trash-pop. Everything Opposite opens with Special, arguably one of the best tracks on the EP and therefore a great start. Gaskarth posted on his Twitter account saying the following: “It’s about exploring self-sabotage, and the internal battle we often wage within ourselves when life gets a bit too heavy. It’s about the lows, but it’s also about the struggle back to leveling out and the moment you say ‘fuck it all, its time to get better’.” When asked about the song, Hoppus simply said he “thinks it slaps.”
This is exactly what makes Simple Creatures so appealing. Hoppus and Gaskarth have a long-standing friendship, but a different (mental) approach to their project which causes a great balance both vocally and personally. They don’t take themselves too seriously, but produce seriously good music. The fact that Special has a music video featuring only sock puppets should say enough.
Second track One Little Lie, unveiled only days before the EP release, is the catchiest track in my opinion. Especially the verses, written by Hoppus, are lyrically on point. As Gaskarth has said to Rock Sound about the songwriting process, “one of the things I like most about this project is because there’s two people writing the lyrics, the themes are being explored in two minds at once” and that’s exactly what comes forward on this EP.
A song that deserves some special recognition is NVM, a song about a complicated breakup with the mystery of who’s at fault. It’s one of the few Simple Creatures songs where both vocalists take turns singing single lines within the same verses and choruses. Where there is the opportunity for that to sound messy, it works in a way that Gaskarth and Hoppus’ voices complement each other nicely.
Closing track Thanks, I Hate It has slightly more of the vocals falling on Alex’s shoulders and we suspect that the idea for the music video also came from him. One of the most cursed music videos to be released in the past year, it features Gaskarth and Hoppus starring in several infomercials in the form of deep fakes. A guaranteed laugh and yet another example of the band not taking themselves too seriously.
The lyrics to One Little Lie say the guys are born to quit, but we’re certainly hoping Simple Creatures will stick around for a while. With only two California shows and an appearance at Good Things festival planned, the duo’s touring schedule for SC is very limited. Neither blink-182 nor All Time Low have much planned in the upcoming months, so there’s hoping!