CROCODILES
Summer of Hate CD - Fat Possum

San Diego's surf and sand does not always compute to fun in the sun. The synth-punk duo Crocodiles, who thrive in the shadows, are a case in point. Charles Rowell and Brandon Welchez (both former members of post-hardcore band The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower) etch minimalist, doomy rock with a debt to The Velvet Underground, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and Suicide. When Crocodiles sing about hanging out in their bedroom in solitude, during dirge descant "Soft Skull," life centers around six-inch gashes, shotguns, and lying beneath the blanket like a stranger in a strange land; this is definitely the opposite of Brian Wilson lamenting about staying at home during "In My Room." Scuzzy keyboards, gritty guitars, modified vocals, and warped percussion wreck havoc on tracks filled with alienation, frustration, and youthful withdrawal, such as electro-clash cutlet "Refuse Angels," which surges with a dance floor pulse but is anything but comfortable. Hidden underneath the reverb, distortion, and corrosiveness, though, is an appreciation for melody, especially during fuzz-drenched, noise-pop nugget "Flash of Light," the unexpectedly poignant "Here Comes the Sky," and the album-ending epic "Young Drugs," a lengthy discourse that is akin to Spiritualized stripped to enervating essentials. (Doug Simpson)
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