As you all know if you read my reviews or know me, I was always a big Blink 182 fan and I also check out any new music that is released from the branch of Blink 182. This is the case with the side project of Mark Hoppus called Simple Creatures.
The story behind this project is that after Mark Hoppus finished the ‘California’ tour in 2017, he was plunged into depression and to tackle it, he got into the studio to make music with artists he always wanted to work with. Alex Gaskarth was the first person he called. It was supposed to be just one song but they ended up writing several, and then Simple Creatures was born.
This EP titled Strange Love is the first of many they wish to release and I’m already a big fan of this collaboration, from a great new sound to Mark and Alex’s well put together vocals, it is worth checking out. So lets take a closer and more in depth look at this EP by Simple Creatures called Strange Love.
We start with “Drug“, which wasn’t what I would expect from a Mark and Alex combo, and this is the reason why I love this project so much. “Drug” is, in Alex’s one words, about “someone or something you want the most, being terrible for you… Feels great until it doesn’t, but then you can’t stop“.
The nice gritty guitars and bass with programmed drums and background synths really work here, and Mark and Alex’s back and forth vocal delivery really hook you in a way that you didn’t think they could. The chorus line “You got me going ’round in circles in my head, The signals that we send, electric confidence” will be stuck in your head like any good pop song would, and a good signal of intent to start the EP.
Then, we get “Strange Love” which looks at trying to be someone you’re not when you go out, which I can relate to. In terms of the instrumentation, not a lot is going on, but the structure of the song works well and they know the importance of a powerful and catchy chorus, which they nail nicely.
Alex and Mark’s vocals work together really well once again and the last chorus on this song is a highlight of this for me. The chorus line “Strange love, don’t let the madness change us, All of the good vibrations, Roll on for one more” is really catchy and could be really cool to hear live – this is another fun and catchy track.
“How To Live” is a slow relaxing song which looks at holding in problems, and the damage that can cause. It has a really similar layout to “Strange Love” but just like the other songs on this EP, Mark and Alex carry this song, this time with their humorous vocals and the subject matter.
They are really good at keeping you interested, and it has a similar feel to most pop music, but it definitely feels different due to it looking into deeper subject matters than most pop songs do.
“Adrenaline” has a really pop-punk feel to it and is the only song on this EP that can be described this way. With a really nice guitar tone throughout, the track delivers more of the same vocal delivery, with Mark and Alex taking turns with the verses and coming together in the chorus, which doesn’t get old.
With the song being about needing a pick up when thing are bad, “Adrenaline” really works with the energy of the chorus and the lines “But I can feel you all the way from my coffin in LA, When I’m six feet underneath my misery, Come and hit me with adrenaline“, and it another good addition to the EP.
We get a club feel to “Ether“, which looks at being in a broken relationship and having to choose what to do about it. The instrumentation takes you in a new direction, along with the calm and stripped chorus, which I really like.
The acoustics really mix it up and I love the verse layout which really stands out, more than any other song on this EP. With lines like “I’m trying not to run away Youth is wasted on the dumb She caught me with a ricochet” and “You can gasp for air or take the ether Hold your breath or both you won’t get either“, the track is really fun to listen to.
The EP closes out with “Lucy” which is a fun and energetic song, with an awesome gritty bass line driving it, and Alex leading on the vocal front, with Mark very nicely backing him up. The track is about a ‘Lucy’ who is a trouble maker, and how the guys are trying to change her, this is made clear in the chorus “Can we make an honest woman out of Lucy? Gotta make an honest woman out of Lucy“. I love the ending of this song which makes you feel great as you listen.
Overall, this is an EP that will surprise you, with how fun and well put together the track are. With catchy hooks, nice lyrics, and strong vocal performances, it have something that everyone can enjoy. I haven’t been Mark Hoppus’ biggest fan music wise but I really enjoyed this EP and look forward to hearing more from him and Alex soon.
You should definitely check this EP out if you’re a big fan of Blink 182 or All Time Low. Purchase Simple Creatures’ Strange Love EP on iTunes here, and stream it on Spotify below.
Words by Stuart Irvine