“All I really care about are the real, deep problems people have. That’s the root of entertainment,” boasts Ian Sefchick, Creeper Lagoon’s dramatic frontman. A thorough sampling of this San Francisco’s second full-length offering, first for major label Dreamworks, proves the fact that Sefchick gladly puts his money where his mouth is. Take Back the Universe and Give Me Yesterday is a beautiful masterpiece of self-indulgence. All the typical “pop band on the rise” concerns rear their ugly heads repeatedly. Romance gone awry, insecurity, unanswerable ponderings and of course, self-destruction, are the foundation of the album. However, unlike the majority of their American colleagues, Creeper Lagoon delivers the goods with an almost extinct sense of honesty. Perhaps this candidness stems from a sub-conscious sense of confidence, or maybe immature naivety. But if you are a betting person, put all your coins on it having something to do with the immeasurable chemical intake which seems to be an overt part of not just Creeper Lagoon’s creative process, but simply part of their daily routine.
Both Sefchick and Creeper singer/guitarist Sharky Laguana recount, “life altering” acid trips with a somewhat perplexing sense of pride. Since the tender age of 14 these chemical holidays seem to have increased in frequency, so much so that when it came time to record demos for their major label debut, the band willingly secluded themselves on an ostrich farm with nothing more than their abused instruments and a pound of mushrooms, and were not talking portobellos. These early musical skeletons were eventually tossed, but the narcotic indulgence played a vital role all the way through to Take Back the Universe and Give Me Yesterday‘s final mix down.
The result is anything but typical. This is not an album full of chaotic, drug-induced jams that can only be enjoyed under the same influence as which they were created upon, but rather a record endowed with sun-kissed sensations that could easily, and in a just world, will find their way onto peak rotation North American radio.
Picking up where 1998’s I Become Small and Go left off (an album which deservedly earned them Spin‘s “Best New Artist” award), this Dreamworks offering is a proper manifestation of an unashamed pop band entering musical maturity. Although Take Back the Universe and Give Me Yesterday was created in tandem with a plethora of producers, a definite shining example of studio turmoil, Creeper Lagoon managed to create 13 tracks which magically blend heavenly guitar weavings with penetrating melodies. Their sound, which at times is rather reminiscent of UK geezers Swervedriver at their finest moments, is simultaneously musically credible and accessible, a feat that should not go unnoticed in today’s market saturated with inartistic assembly line style garbage posing as pop.
In a fair world, Creeper Lagoon’s infectious magic would infiltrate worldwide airwaves, selling millions in the process. OK, reality check, this album will no doubt get brushed under the carpet, only getting play on small-town college stations and selling nowhere near the units it merits. Who ever said life was fair? Support the cause.
// Notes from the Road
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