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Who? A vet of early emo act Mineral and indie rocksentimentalists the Gloria Record, Austin-bred singer/songwriter ChrisSimpson disappeared in 2004 in the midst of recording what would’vebeen the latter band’s sophomore effort. Simpson finally reemerged twoyears later with a new sound and a fresh moniker: Zookeeper. Aself-titled EP also arrived in 2006, while Zookeeper hit the road withthe likes of Umbrellas and Georgie James. Zookeeper’s first full-length LP, Becoming All Things, is available now via Brooklyn-based indie label, Belle City Pop!.

What’s the Deal?Not as experimental as the Gloria Record or as angsty as Mineral,Simpson reinvents himself with Zookeeper, all without abandoning hispenchant for earnest lyrics and the tuneful song-smithing heard in hisprevious endeavors. Becoming All Things — featuring formerbandmates (The Gloria Record) and current labelmates (Sad Accordians)– feels like a sweater knitted with the yarns of Neutral Milk Hotel’sJeff Mangum and the Shins’ James Mercer, interweaving carefully craftedpatterns of energetic bombast and sweet, soft pop balladry.Seven-minute whopper “Boy in the Street Choir” is a lengthy morsel ofdelicious indie pop, while the equally long title track is a lush, allenveloping number that anchors the latter half of the 10-song LP.

Fun Fact:Simpson chose the Zookeeper label when he discovered that a popularChristian R&B singer was already performing and recording under thename ‘Chris Simpson.’

Now Hear This:
Zookeeper – “Snow in Berlin” DOWNLOAD MP3

On the Web:
Zookeeper at MySpace

Talk: Does Zookeeper top Simpson’s prior efforts or just cage him in?

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