When Crocodiles made their debut last year with the release of Summer of Hate, amid praise from other critics and bloggers, Rolling Stone called the album, “scuzzily addictive punk pop.” And it was, or is. However, at times, Crocodiles’ sound is hard to pinpoint; dabbling in krautrock and electronica, new wave and no wave, punk, shoegaze and even industrial aspects had them sounding a little like No Age, albeit with more drum machines.
Crocodiles second LP, Sleep Forever, is an extension of the sound and energy behind the praise and confusion earned via the band’s first album. Members Charles Rowell and Brandon Welchez have described it as, “more krauty, more dub.” Says Rowell, “The album’s still gritty and punk, but it’s also really big and loud and psychedelic. It’s just a lot more organic.”
The signature Crocs sound that draws you in for awhile begins with the first track, “Mirrors.” The song takes roughly two minutes before reaching full tempo and is soaked in shoegazer mysticism; the lyrics echo over a soft synth harmony. Many of the songs are presented in this manner — a crunchy guitar riff with synth overtones and distant vocals; this is the sound of contemporary art punk. But for the Crocs, it’s much darker than anything by contemporaries such as The Soft Pack, who also call San Diego home.
The title track is the definite standout track on the album, ranking up there with the best the Crocodiles have ever written, utilizing a highly melodic chorus reminiscent of The Jesus and Mary Chain or The Stone Roses. The Crocs also dabble in Oasis-esque surf rock (“Billy Speed”) and signature post pop punk riffage with, “Hearts of Love,” also an impressive progression from Summer of Hate.
Crocodiles have put together a solid and interesting album on Sleep Forever. It is eclectic in the sense that it dabbles in many genres: German techno, electronica, shoegaze, dream pop and well, punk. One should be careful when using the ‘punk’ nomenclature, however. To say it is punk, one could just as easily lump the band into a category with Fucked Up or The Buzzcocks or Pennywise, none of whom sound much alike. However, The Crocodiles have an impressive sound that borrows from both post- and proto-punk, much more steeped in the realm of bands like Devo than the Clash, which pushes the boundaries of contemporary art punk.
MP3: “Sleep Forever”