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take back the universe...
Creeper Lagoon
Take Back the Universe and Give Me Yesterday
Dreamworks

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Often, when a "big" label sweeps up a band from indie obscurity, as Dreamworks has done with Creeper Lagoon, my first reaction is dread. I automatically think that the result will be a watered down, bland version of the band, with slick production values and radio-friendly "pop gems". Ick! I think we'd all agree there's enough of that sort of music seeping from MTV's lame TRL.

Keeping this in mind, Take Back The Universe... far surpassed my piddly expectations. Sure, the production is more professional, but labeling it "slick" would be a defamatory exaggeration. Also, while there are a few tracks, like "Wrecking Ball" and "Up All Night", could get the band significant mainstream radio play, there's really no credible reason to hold that against them. In fact, Creeper Lagoon would be a refreshing change compared to the current wave of sound-alike, low-musical-merit bands (i.e. Matchbox Twenty, Goo Goo Dolls, Creed, etc.). I'm almost hesitant to mention those bands in the same sentence as Creeper Lagoon because there really is no resemblance.

Big label questions aside, Take Back The Universe... is full of solid songwriting and catchy melodies that do not pander to the cliches so often found in mainstream pop/rock albums. Among the tracks, "Lover's Leap", reminiscent of a Ziggy Stardust showing, "Here We Are", a song balancing the tight-rope between depression and hope and "Cellophane", which sounds like a better version of the Wallflowers, stand out as examples of how a band can continue to grow under the ever-watchful eye of impending rockstardom.

I'm sure there will be those who will question Creeper Lagoon's move out of the indie label circle, but what it all comes down to is the music. Take Back The Universe won't disappoint the band's die-hard fans, and it will earn them many more along the way. What's more, it may help to revive the sorry state of mainstream music.

-- Amy Leach
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