Creeper Lagoon : Take Back The Universe And Give Me Yesterday

San Francisco soulrockers' frazzled second LP

This is the album that almost wasn’t. Recorded on an ostrich farm under the influence of magic mushrooms, Creeper Lagoon’s initial attempt at their sophomore album was such an excruciating shambles, it had to be scrapped. Band members freaked out, plans were aborted and songs rewritten in a narcotic haze. When ‘Take Back…’ was finally completed, with the patient assistance of a trio of producers (including Dave Fridmann), it was months overdue – and a far more accomplished work than anyone suspected this bunch of deadbeats capable of.

An indomitable spirit runs through the record like a silver thread. Ian Sefchick’s otherwise unremarkable voice has a rampant, breathless quality to it – he doesn’t know what he’s running towards, but what he wants to get away from (inertia, self-destruction, failure). Creeper Lagoon’s desire to ditch the humble restraints of indie rock and head full throttle into razzle-dazzle pop is so intense they frequently overcompensate – laying on effects with an enthusiasm bordering on the obscene, cramming several terrific melodies into every song.

They are never anything less than inspired. ‘Keep From Moving’ is a seven-minute Afghan Whigs-style soulrock epic, ‘Lover’s Leap’ turns up the Bowie, and ‘Under The Tracks’ marks the spot where Wheat meet Built To Spill. Uplifting and transcendent, ‘Take Back…’ brings lustre to a hackneyed genre. Second chances should never be wasted, even if the band are.

April Long