A GORGEOUS, DIFFIDENT four-piece from San Francisco, Creeper Lagoon are indie rock's newest romantics, and once you get past their shyness, they might sweep you off your feet. In person, the band whips up a racket that, on first hearing, compares favorably to great guitar avengers like the Archers of Loaf. At points in Creeper Lagoon's set, they seem so high on the joy of simply being onstage that they nearly levitate above the crowd. A recent local show reached its apotheosis when guitarist Sharky Laguana fell to his knees in the act of hitting a single chord, as if he were so overcome that his passion finally drained his power to perform.
Nothing on their excellent I Become Small and Go is that visceral, but it doesn't need to be. The record seems straightforward enough on paper: They do a little sampling; they indulge in a little post-Pavement guitar tangle; they get experimental mileage by evoking sounds from things like belt buckles and oxygen oscillators. But although three tracks are produced by John King of the Dust Brothers, don't expect to hear Sebadoh doing Odelay. The odd instruments and experimental asides are perfectly integrated into their inherently conservative rock sound, resulting in laid-back, expansive arrangements. Yet, while King's appearance on the record gives it hipster cachet, the tracks King doesn't produce are just as florid as the ones he does. He was, however, smart enough to grab the best songs: the string-steeped and sunshiny "Wonderful Love"; the lovely "Dear Deadly"; and the sharp, roughly hewn "Empty Ships."
Like a sweetheart who passes you a mix tape he stayed up all night perfecting, Creeper Lagoon clearly wants you to hear how much love they've put into this endlessly listenable collection. And what could be more romantic than that?
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