Creatures of an Hour is a psychological thriller. Panic lurks in the lyrics, time hazily contracts and expands within each song, and vocalist Tessa Murray tries to keep a grip on her own sanity as she navigates a tumultuous relationship. Despite these tensions, Creatures rarely feels strained because Murray, along with songwriter Greg Hughes, Leon Duffy and Luke Jarvis, offset the high-stakes narrative with detached vocals and subdued arrangements.
There’s a lot of pain, both involuntary and self-inflicted. Rife with C86 crackle and ’60s pop harmonies, single “Cuckoo” comes from a desperate speaker, struggling to define the relationship she’s in. A jagged guitar is the only solid element in the song; the phantasmal organ and muffled drumbeat seem to heighten the distance Murray feels from her lover. That isn’t to say that Murray sings without agency — though she may be unsteady, she’s fully aware of both her psychosis and its consequences, asking at one point, “Do you think it’s strange to live without pain?”