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Fat Creeps: Coasting on their own

North Shore surf-goth trio denies riding anyone’s wave.

In today's hyperspeed hype machine, it seems a band is barely out of the practice room before some blogger has pigeon-holed them. Case in point: the North Shore-based band Fat Creeps, who, only nine months into their existence, are already being accused of trying to cop the naive, flat-voiced, retro style of such bands as Best Coast and the Vivian Girls.

"They think we don't understand our roots; that we're just listening to Best Coast, and writing off of that," says guitarist Gracie Jackson.

While they'd certainly appeal to fans of those two female-fronted bands, Fat Creeps -- which also includes bassist Mariam Saleh and drummer Jim Leonard -- have a sound distinct enough to make such taunts unfounded, with a darker, more minor-key vibe mixing goth bleakness with surf rock cool, and ghostly harmonies that aren't afraid to veer into atonal territory.

"It's like Indian music, that background drone," says Jackson of the harmonies. "If you can bring that forward and make it vocal, it sounds so cool."

The Creeps take the comparisons with a grain of salt. In fact, they don't think too hard about their image or sound, preferring to go with what comes naturally.

"It just flows," says Saleh, reluctant to cite influences.

Rather than agonize over details in practice, the band goes with what works on stage.

"We developed our sound by playing shows," says Jackson. "It's fun to see people in the audience having a good time and digging it," Saleh adds. "It's definitely motivational."

Creepy polyphony




Fat Creeps' most distinctive feature is their harmonizing. For Jackson, harmonies were obvious: "If you have two chick voices that are good, you should do harmonies. With a trio, you're kind of limited. You've got to do something to keep it interesting, and harmonies help that a lot."

For instruction, she listened to girl group pop, which she describes as "Harmonies for Dummies." The vocal chemistry between Jackson and Saleh is reflected in their collaborative process as well. We asked them which classical songwriting duo they most resemble, and the decision was unanimous: "Beavis and Butt-Head."

If you go




The Coathangers, Skimask, Fat Creeps and Casanovas in Heat

Tonight, 9

Great Scott

1222 Comm. Ave., Allston

$9, 18+, 617-566-9014

www.greatscottboston.com