Creeper Lagoon – Take Back the Universe and Give Me Yesterday – Review

Creeper Lagoon

Take Back the Universe and Give Me Yesterday (DreamWorks)
by Tim Den

Finally! After almost three years of waiting, Creeper Lagoon delivers the DreamWorks debut. Does it live up to the dark I Become Small and Go and the brainy-pop of Watering Ghost Garden? Well, yes and no. Yes in that this record is what Watering Ghost Garden had promised: bigger hooks. Much bigger hooks. Mainstream songwriting and a slick-ass production have turned these once-bedroom four-trackers into total radio hunks. If the likes of “Wrecking Ball,” “Under the Tracks,” and “Dead Man Saloon” don’t become heavy rotaters on your local mainstream station, then I sure as hell don’t know how accessible you have to get. These are songs meant to appeal to all ages and genders, kinda like the non-offensive elevator music frat kids like so much… except with lush layerings and quirky timing.

But that’s also where the problem is… Part of Creeper Lagoon’s charisma lies in their moodiness; their affection for the creepy. I Become and Go’s “Silvia” and “Prison Mix” made the band not only indie pop princes but also devils, bringing in a shade of darkness that dragged everything into a pool of weeds and sunken algae. But on the new album, that bleakness has been washed away by bright L.A. engineers. Instead, we’ve got the next batch of songs going on Jock Rock (not that Creeper Lagoon’s tough guycore… just that jocks dig shit like Third Eye Blind, a territory this album’s getting close to). Bummer.

A lot of older fans, like myself, will be slightly put off by the new, polished Creeper Lagoon. Only time will tell if those other fans will forgive the band and just accept Take Back the Universe and Give Me Yesterday for being the guilty radio album that it is (a feat I’ve been able to accomplish after spinning the disc repeatedly). I hope they do, because if you ignore that this album was probably made with the “we’re gonna be huge” intent, you’ll find treasures like “Chance of a Lifetime,” “Sunfair,” “Hey Sister,” “Keep From Moving” (amazing bridge!!), and (especially) “Here We Are” (the album’s closer and probably finest moment).