Release Date: Oct 21, 2016
Record label: Zoo Music
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Noise Pop
“And you’ll burn, and weep and suffer” proclaims a voice, over and over again, on the first track of this, Crocodiles’ sixth album. It’s a sample of an old recording of a Christian preacher, one which the San Diego noise-pop band used on their very first single some 15 years before. Resurrected here at the start of this record, it offers both a sense of the familiar and the new, which, given that the band have made pains to veer away from their usual sound by paring down the use of guitars and feedback on these songs, is an apt way to start.
In a worthy attempt to keep from repeating themselves to diminishing returns, with fourth album Crimes of Passion the California duo Crocodiles moved away from the sometimes unfocused noise rock sound they started off playing in favor of something poppier and more direct. On their next album, Boys, they refined their pop sound even more and added some Latin influences that were a byproduct of recording at producer Martin Thulin's Mexico City studio. Working again with Thulin, who had become something of a third member of the band, the duo took a more drastic step on 2016's Dreamless.
Crocodiles have always seen themselves as a guitar band, first and foremost. But on their latest album ‘Dreamless’ the guitars have taken a backseat and best friends Brandon Welchez and Charles Rowell have tried to apply different tools. It’s a creative risk that might not have paid off as much as the pair had hoped. The album opens with spoken word snippet “and you’ll burn and weep and suffer”, repeated in an unsettling drone by a Christian preacher the pair sampled on the first 7” they recorded together as teenagers.
There has always been a sense of escapism within the music of Crocodiles. Whether it’s the hazy, wayfaring fuzz-pop of their early work, or their recent break from their post-punk influences towards a more melodic, worldly swing, there remains a peripatetic quality within their work that suggests exploratory journeys without fixed destinations in mind. Brandon Welchez and Charles Rowell recorded Crocodiles sixth LP, Dreamless, in Welchez’s new home of Mexico City.