Creep is a partnership between established Brooklyn-based DJs Lauren Flax and Lauren Dillard. On their debut LP, Echoes, a string of guest vocalistshelp to infuse Flax and Dillard’s dark electronica with a human touch.

Creep have released a handful of singles over the past three years, all of which are included on the album. Continuing in the manner of these singles, Echoes widely employs eerie trip hop backbeats and gothic minimalism. Skittering percussion lines pop up here and there, but the pulse is usually too disjointed for dancing.

By the record’s third quarter the murky atmospherics start to lose breath, but there are a number of memorable cuts earlier. Second track ‘Vertigo’ features Lamb’s Lou Rhodes, whose elegant presence gives the delicate number a hypnotic substance. Creep’s 2010 debut single ‘Days’, a collaboration with the xx’s Romy Madley Croft, still surges with hook-laden alarm.

On ‘Call Her’, Tricky’s slinking whisper is melodically supplemented by the ethereal vocals of Alejandra de la Deheza (School of Seven Bells) and the track placidly alludes towards a grimy underbelly. Flax’s past collaborator, Sia Furler (Flax co-wrote Sia’s 2009 single ‘You’ve Changed’)shows up on the album for closing power-ballad ‘Dim The Lights’. One of the record’s lesser successes, the song urgently shoots for the stars, yet the emotional target feels somewhat abstract.

Echoes shows that Creep understand how to evoke an image of a maligned reality, where beauty must fight against machine manipulation. However, the formula does become slightly tired before the record’s conclusion.

3/5 stars

BY AUGUSTUS WELBY

Echoes is out now through POD/Inertia.

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