Crocodiles are a duo from San Diego consisting of Charles Rowell and Brandon Welchez (formerly of the post-hardcore band The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower). Though they hail from temperate climates, their acclaimed 2009 debut Summer Of Hate was definitely no Beach Boys, theramin-heavy, sunshine trip. Rather, it owed much, much more to the dark, druggy sounds of icons such as Suicide, Spacemen 3, and the Jesus and Mary Chain.
Summer Of Hate‘s “I Wanna Kill,” “Refuse Angels,” and its title track boast spooky tremolo, brutal beats, nasty feedback, and most importantly, they’re catchy as hell. Sleep Forever isn’t a huge departure from the debut, however. And like Summer, Sleep Forever contains only eight songs and clocks in under 35-minutes – the band again refusing to waste time on excess.
Blending together all the influences prominent on Crocodiles’ debut, Sleep Forever adds a tad more experimentation. Tracks like “Stoned to Death” and “Hollow Hollow Eyes” sport Krautrock rhythms pounding like a Mack truck racing down the Autobahn. On the other side of the spectrum, the lovely “Girl In Black” and, especially, the masterful closer “All My Hate and My Hexes Are For You” come off like the dreamier side of Spacemen 3 with hypnotic drones and lush instrumentation (the latter is about the prettiest ‘fuck you’ song you’ll ever hear).
The more typical sounding Crocodiles tracks on Sleep Forever are stone classics, belonging on jukeboxes worldwide. The absolutely fantastic title track (released as a pre-album seven-inch single with a bewitching fuzzed-up cover of Deee-Lite’s “Groove Is In the Heart” as the B-side), is ridiculously catchy, bordering on a bubblegum shoegaze nugget sounding like a cross between The Telescopes, Jesus and Mary Chain, and 1960s sunshine pop. The staggering “Mirrors” begins with dreamy drones before soaring to epic heights like the best of The Church or Echo and The Bunnymen. Perhaps the album’s highlight, though, is the infectious “Hearts Of Love,” which combines a catchy melody with a crushing wall of sound capable of putting a huge smile on Phil Spector’s face.
As a companion piece, Fires Of Comparison is a digital-only EP available for free download on the Fat Possum website. All four of these instrumental tracks are as engaging as Crocodiles’ two proper albums. The none-too-subtly titled “Kill Joe Arpaio” attacks the controversial Arizona anti-immigration sheriff with a heady brew of experimental beats and talk show samples, while “A House With Skin Like Yours” explores similar psychedelic ground as The Black Angels. The brief title track is an experimental throwaway, but the EP closes on a high note with the exquisite “Hearts Reprise.”Visit: Crocodiles | Fat Possum
Purchase: Insound | eMusic