[31 October 2007]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
Chris Simpson was last seen fronting the influential emo outfit The Gloria Record. Several years after that band’s demise, Simpson has re-emerged under the Zookeeper name, playing loose, Beatlesque indie-pop. Previously available via download and the record label website only, this 2006 debut EP is being given wide release to coincide with Zookeeper’s first full-length. Most of the five tracks here are borne from jam sessions with Simpson and lots of his friends, with members of Okkervil River and Friends of Dean Martinez among them. The free-flowing, ramshackle sound is buoyed by Simpson’s knack for mood and melody; “I Live in the Mess You Are” is like a catchy-quirky Lindsey Buckingham gem, while the triumphant “Delivery Room” is as warm as a newborn. Simpson’s untethered warble isn’t well-suited to this stuff, but in the end the music wins out. In particular, fans of Grant Lee Buffalo and Bennett-era Wilco should take notice.
Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/zookeeper-zookeeper/