Crocodiles hail from San Diego, California. The band exploded into my life supporting A Place To Bury Strangers at Heaven Under the Arches, possibly one of the best things ever to happen to me.
Brandon Welchez is one of, if not the coolest frontman around today. Looking like a young Bob Dylan, he is rarely seen without his shades and wild untamed hair. He will argue otherwise for his face looks nothing like Dylan’s merely the silhouette of his shadow. He moves like he is trying frantically to detach a piece of cellotape stuck to the end of his finger, almost dislocating his arm whilst dancing around in a fevered frenzy to a loud cool sexy back drop of noise.
Meeting at an anti fascist rally in their teens guitarist Charles Rowell helped Brandon go on to form Crocodiles after various other band projects. Blending together dark electro guitar driven noise Crocodiles take influence from the likes of Jesus and Mary Chain, Velvet Underground and Echo and the Bunnymen. Their second album ‘Sleep Forever’ has been on my ‘I cant wait’ list for a while.
Opening track ‘Mirrors’ builds like awakening from a sleep or a slow burning fire. The rumble of drums fade in amongst feedback and guitar loops, it brings with it a marching army of noise waiting to explode upon all in its path. The infectious beats take over and drives the track into a euphoric explosion. Dirty fuzzed up guitars saw in and drone out. Welchez’s reverb vocal carries an uplifting yet haunting melody “there’s something in the way you crucifies me, it makes me smile“. As the chorus hits it is like a celebration of all things living, this is why I love music.
‘Stoned to Death’ is another guitar driven belt of noise with a sexy beat but a more relaxed melody. It creates an atmosphere of being lost in a busy and crazy city like Mumbai as the whole world whizzes by…while off your face. It climbs to a chainsaw scream of noise. It is infectious and brilliant. There are elements of Primal Scream and feels like escapism into another world.
If ‘Stoned to Death’ was lost in Mumbai, ‘Hallow Hallow Eyes’ is like being trapped in a circus. Vocals whirl in and out stretching as if being pushed through a hall of mirrors. Guitars whale, peek and feedback. The organ melody running through the track gives it a haunting circus theme as well as the weird lyrics ‘Someone stuffed my face with poison apples’ helps add to the freak show drama of the track.
The psychedelic Girl in Black seems suspended in a dream like state, as sounds float through the air. The girl in black being wife and front woman Dee Dee from Dum Dum Girls, who’s vocal appears in Sleep Forever, the first single released and another drawn out indie anthem.
The melodies throughout the album sound like nursery rhymes, they sound familiar yet I haven’t heard them before. Sleep Forever is magic, the album travels like a wave changing between soft, slow and beautiful to full throttle electro punk.
Hearts of Love is a sing along swagger of anthemic indie. Infectious guitar riffs, cool lyrics and tribal drum beat. Most of the tracks intros and outros seem to start from nothing then suddenly you’re amongst this incredible sound. Hearts Of Love sounds like it could be another single. It contains gentle dream like sounds before ripping into fuzzed up guitar and chanting vocal choruses.
On every listen I find there is even more to like about each track. I had huge expectations of Sleep Forever and it has lived up to them beyond doubt. The most exciting band around for me at the moment. They have the image, sound and more importantly the songs.