Alternative rocker guardin has been making quite the name for himself with the release of his genre-bending EPs creature pt. 1 and creature pt. 2, as well as an assortment of other odds-and-ends style singles. Well, the bedroom rocker is closing out his creature series with a bang with the release of his new album, creatures together.
creatures together sonically embodies the life of a twenty-something year old trying to make sense of the world around them, touching on a variety of topics such as love, death & disorder. Each song tells a story bound to reel you in.
So, does Nicholas Kerr manage to dazzle with his storytelling and reel in listeners throughout a ten-track journey? Or is creatures together starting this alt-rockers decline? Let’s find out.
A track filled with various sounds and vibes, “three, two, one” is straight wonderment and torment tossed together into a musical blender of aspiration and emotions.
Creating a colorful mess on a blank canvas to launch listeners into a flurry of feelings was the perfect way to open up creatures together. It’s different, raw, and the little cracks and imperfections make the album’s introduction memorable.
The perfect song for easy listening while sorting the thoughts racing through the mind. Awaiting something “more.”
Wasting zero time, Nicholas Kerr drops listeners into a spiral with “jetlag.” Bridging perfectly between “three, two, one,” the listener-based favorite track on creatures together, isn’t a song to take lightly.
The themes presented throughout the track’s two-minute runtime are utilized perfectly, as guardin packs in punch after punch, leaving nothing to the imagination as the straight-forward approach to his gut-punch lyrics settle tension, creating a blockbuster of sound that carries the infectious vocal melodies to the warm embrace of sunlight.
The hyper-pop influence is mind-numbing and memorable, showcasing the masterclass writing ability at play.
guardin and kennedyxoxo create perfect poetry while continuing the assault on listeners’ loose-at-best heartstrings. “true colors” is an acoustic-based dreamscape of emotion and paint-splattered memories. “I feel like giving up” is a tale as old as time, and “true colors” brings it back to the forefront in a truth-telling way.
“Why are you giving up?” The lyrical quality and raw aspects of “true colors” helped the album’s third track quickly become a favorite, as I constantly had this one on repeat while writing and re-writing this review.
“true colors” should have zero issues finding its audience as it bests some of the better tracks on creatures together with ease. A broken, truthful masterpiece worth hitting the play button.
“Why does it always feel like everything is coming to a close?” No lies are detected regarding the mental cracks presented on the eye-opening track “on the wall.”
“on the wall” doesn’t skimp on the emotional play as guardin continues to treat his listeners as emotional beings instead of your typical consumer-fed, top-40 zombie. The non-hand-holding aspect of “on the wall” makes it unique.
Nicholas Kerr is a master wordsmith in the making, leaving it all in the words he writes down, leaving listeners hanging by a thread as the track comes to a close, “’cause I’m still trying to piece myself together.”
One of the shorter songs featured on creatures together, “eugene,” fits perfectly snug between “on the wall” and “impossible.” Creating a clear mental image of bright colors drenched in the dark backdrop of life.
A track more on the eccentric side of the sound spectrum, “eugene” continues revealing just how dark and unforgiving life can sometimes be, only blaming yourself for the mistakes you wish you could have fixed.
I can certainly see “eugene” attracting attention from the remix crowd, as its bare-bones qualities make it the perfect candidate.
“impossible” continues the sensational storytelling guardin has decided to bestow upon the world. A perfect storm of words catching fire to stimulating mental melodies and subtle beats to dance around the ear canal.
“What am I supposed to do?” Nicholas Kerr wasting no emotion or relatable feeling as “impossible” begins the trend of bringing listeners in closer and closer, creating a bubble of despair and hopelessness while at the same time never letting life’s dim light go entirely out.
Asking tough questions seems to be guardin’s expertise as “impossible” escapes the never-ending circle of ifs and maybes.
Imperfections can be just as good as life’s perfections, and the album’s seventh track is an imperfect cycle of sound that’s easily relatable and highly replayable. One of my favorites up there with “true colors.”
“perfect” manages to tie in the loving touch of an acoustic guitar and the heavy atmosphere of a heartbeat waiting to break, creating a daydream melody to carry listeners through their day while continuing to question everything.
“perfect” is a beautifully melodic tune that’s touching and depressing, creating the perfect atmospheric playground for guardin to take hold.
My least replayed track off of creatures together, “for a reason,” appears to throw a wrench into the inner workings of the tension build-up so far presented throughout the album, coming off as more of a distraction versus a connected piece between “perfect” and “geronimo.”
That said, “for a reason,” as a standalone experience is the perfect “fuck you” for fake friends and complete assholes with the worst intentions. The raw angst present is excellent and showcases the anger behind the words spitting fire, creating a breakdown of reality that is both frightening and touching.
A track that is undoubtedly in a class of its own.
“geronimo” is a top-three track, creating the perfect friction between a breakdown and laughter. A pure acoustic experience that is beautiful and broken. If you only have a chance to check out one track from guardin’s latest album, this is the track to get lost in.
“Don’t do it for them/do it for yourself.” “geronimo” and creatures together as a whole are like peering into the heartbeat of Nicholas Kerr, reading between the lines of what makes this talented storyteller a one-of-a-kind artist while at the same time being as familiar as the voice in your head.
Coming close to the end, “geronimo” gets listeners ready to head home and bookend what has been a fantastic, musically revealing experience.
“homebound” is a beautiful shoulder to cry on. Bringing emotions full circle as guardin one last time drenches listeners in heartfelt melodies and subtle beats, creating a beautiful sky of dreams and letdowns.
“Soulbound, you and I are soulbound/I just wanna be the light beside you/And lead the path to your home now.” A beautiful string of lyrics that’s heartbreaking and loving, a true reflection of loss and wishing you could have done more.
Nicholas Kerr leaves it all on the table with “homebound,” creating a lasting musical diary that is relatable, befitting of closing out his creatures series, leaving listeners on a higher note than when they might have started twenty-one minutes ago. A stitched up broken-heart still finding the energy to keep beating.
Nicholas Kerr, under guardin, has created something extraordinary with creatures together. A beautiful collection of songs that are revealing, heartbreaking, and absolutely truthful in the approach to storytelling being presented. Nicholas Kerr is an absolute heart-string genius, and I’m already looking forward to what’s next for this stellar storyteller.
If you’re not too familiar with the work of Nicholas Kerr, he has worked with some heavy hitters in the scene, including My Chemical Romance’s Ray Toro, PVRIS, and Magnolia Park, to name just a tiny few, so it would be best to get familiar with his strong line of work under the name guardin as this artist is one to watch.