Volume 92, Issue 21
Thursday, October 8, 1998
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Creeping into musical distortion
Photo by Peter Ellenby
By Clare Elias
Swimming in music's big ocean is San Francisco's Creeper Lagoon, whose melodies float in the murkier, spookier side of the sea.
But unlike the gloomy, misty inhabitants of the ocean floor, Creeper Lagoon's riffs are swept by the undercurrents to the surface for all to see. And even though these four musicians hover and bask in the sunlight, the sea's undertow pulls them back down every now and then, resulting in a sound that teeters between pop and indie-esque jams.
Creeper Lagoon remains in this fluctuated state by shifting and playing around with differing crafty chords. "We're always tinkering around the edges to make things better and to pull [the sound] in different directions," says bassist Geoffery Chrisholm.
The means to creating this noise include a unique combination of devices. The band employs everything from AM radio signals to flutes to Bic lighters. "We added heavy womping sounds from drum machines and samples thrown in," Chrisholm says in reference to his work with the Dust Brothers for Creeper Lagoon's latest release, I Become Small and Go.
"A lot of texture was added over the top. We built these songs from the ground up it's not like we added a few bells and whistles and chirps.
"The Dust Brothers tore the songs to bits. We worked with them day and night reconstructing beats and adding a lot more layers and textures, that are signature marks of the Dust Brothers. But also, a lot of that is our desire to see how far we can take them."
As the band moves from the indie world to big brand name, their destiny lies in the hands of their new label, Dreamworks. But Creeper Lagoon will hold their own as a group of hard-working individuals as Chrisholm conveys.
"Whatever that label is, is not our thing. We're just doing what we do, which is to cut a wide path though indie rock, rock and roll and pop music," the bassist says.
Intertwined in this mish-mash of sounds are honest, passionate words. "Our music comes from the heart, I guess that's the easy answer. The lyrics and melodies come from our emotional places," Chrisholm explains. These spots are usually dark and gloomy, with lyrics like "you killed your soul, you said you wanted a real life, this isn't real life and no one knows which way you'll go."
Their personality, Chrisholm insists, juxtaposes these lyrics. "We're pretty happy guys, but a lot of the words come from the subconscious. It's about getting it off your chest. [The songs] aren't necessarily about anything, they're just subconscious things that float to the top but we don't associate ourselves with a depression core."
While their inner thoughts surface to produce a melded sound resembling Dinosaur Jr. and the Meat Puppets, Creeper Lagoon strikes a graceful balance within their ungovernable electronicized pattering. This targeted spot will hopefully, at least for Chrisholm, be the place where "we can charge music, even just a little bit."
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