Creeping Weeds | We Are All Part of a Dream You’re Having (Hot Horse!)

cd_creepingFrom the first note of the catchy guitar riff of "Eternity Is a Long Time," it will remind you why you like indie music so gosh-darned much. Jangly guitars! Plaintive lyrics!





I wanted to love this CD. For starters, it had the DIY look of an Urban Outfitters catalog, with hand-lettered type and the sort of doodles I made in my high-school chemistry notebook instead of dutifully learning what a "mole" is. Plus the title We Are All Part of a Dream You're Having immediately brought to mind The Unicorns' Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone? and the platinum-selling Good News for People Who Love Bad News by Modest Mouse. "This will be so cool, hipster!" the CD seemed to promise. And cool it is, beginning with the first sparse piano track entitled "Part of a Dream." Pete Stewart's sing-song vocals rival the angst-y goodness of Modest Mouse's Isaac Brock, only with a girl thrown in the mix for haunting good measure.

The anticipation for the second track is paid off with "Billy Pilgrim," a swirling rocker about the time-traveling soldier-protagonist in Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five. While Creeping Weeds cites Pavement and Built to Spill as influences, the Philly band's "Billy Pilgrim" actually reminds me of "Fascination Street" by the Cure. Halfway through the song, a rocking guitar solo leads to a jarringly unnecessary breakdown with a heavy-handed echo effect. But a hand-clapping bridge that begins with the lyrics "True place does exist in a universe parallel to this world is such a mess" brings the song back to its original dreamy groove.

Even after several listens, my favorite of the 12 tracks on Creeping Weeds' debut album remains the third, entitled "Eternity Is a Long Time." From the first note of the catchy guitar riff, it will remind you why you like indie music so gosh-darned much. Jangly guitars! Plaintive lyrics! Creeping Weeds, I'll even forgive you the didgeridoo on "I Wanted to Live (Die)." Normally, that infernal contraption would prompt a quick move for the eject button, but somehow it works. The instrumental sixth track "Time-Lapse" serves as a quietly meandering intermission that leads into the overly long, yet enjoyable "Derelict." Then an unexpected jolt of foot-tapping goodness and soaring, melancholy storytelling follows with "Our Country Home."

The sound experiments on We Are All Part of a Dream You're Having don't always work (refer to the unfortunate echo incident in "Billy Pilgrim" and the downright irritating "Nightmares"). Still, Creeping Weeds are just the sort of band you could picture Natalie Portman's Garden State character Sam rocking along to on her headphones. Will Creeping Weeds "change your life," as Sam insisted the Shins could do? I doubt it. But if you enjoy folk-influenced, multi-layered, joy-tinged indie-pop, this CD will find its way into your musical rotation and, like its namesake, stubbornly refuse to be uprooted. A | Rebecca Reardon

RIYL: Modest Mouse, Pavement, The Shins, Dinosaur Jr., Marjorie Fair

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