Creep Show (ex-Cabaret Voltaire) blow it up on debut, Mr. Dynamite

Creep Show, a group that brings together John Grant with the dark analogue electro of Wrangler (Stephen Mallinder of Cabaret Voltaire, Phil Winter and Benge), release their debut album Mr. Dynamite, on March 16 through Bella Union.
Recorded in Cornwall with a lifetime’s collection of drum machines and synthesizers assembled by Benge and explored by every member of Creep Show, there’s a real sense of freedom in the shackles-off grooves, channelling the early pioneering spirit of the Sugarhill Gang through wires and random electric noise.
This sense of adventure is also part of the interplay between the two vocalists, John Grant and former Cabaret Voltaire frontman Stephen Mallinder, who switch between oblique wordplay to sinister humor as Phil Winter and Benge continue to man-handle the machines.
According to Mallinder the band “sprang fully formed a couple of years ago but in truth had been bubbling away for decades in a petri dish containing spores of seventies sci-fi, post–punk electronic music, bad taste, broken synthesizers, luscious film soundtracks, and dubious band t-shirts.” Their first show – their name hadn’t yet come to Benge in a dream – was at the Barbican in London late 2016 as part of an event celebrating 40 years of Rough Trade. Preferring not to live on past glories, Grant and Wrangler wrote a whole new set of material together. As Mallinder explains, “We thought the only way to work with someone was to lock the doors and wrestle each other until we could come out with entirely new and original stuff. Why not? If you work with someone, test yourself, see what’s buried under the soil.”
Wrangler are no strangers to collaboration. In the studio they’ve teamed up with LoneLady, Tom Rogerson (currently working with Brian Eno) and Serafina Steer on their albums La Spark (2014) and White Glue two years later. As well as remixing Primal Scream, Gazelle Twin and John Grant (on ‘Voodoo Doll’), in 2015 they released a double LP of Modular synthesizer remixes titled Sparked which included new takes on their music by Daniel Miller and Chris Carter (Chris & Cosey). Cotton Panic!, a forward-looking stage production commissioned by and performed at the Manchester International Festival in 2017, was the result of Wrangler joining forces with actor Jane Horrocks and writer Nick Vivian.
However, Creep Show is much more than the sum of its parts. It’s almost as if the four band members and their machinery were possessed by another force: “Mr Dynamite is real,” states Mallinder. “It’s disturbing, he blows shit up.”