Release Date: Jun 5, 2012
Record label: French Kiss
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Noise Pop
If only Endless Flowers were as infinite as its sound is blissful. Sadly, these 10 sublime songs flee you before you realized you’ve reached the 40-minute mark. The title track and opener introduces Brandon Welchez’s croon guiding a swoonful melody, then bleeds into the album’s single, “Sunday (Psychic Conversation #9),” a psych-fest of synths, guitar swirls and aerial Stone Roses harmonies.
Review Summary: Summer anthems for those who like their beach days mixed in with a good dose of torrential summer downpours. Crocodiles have always seemed a band more intent on paying homage to the past than crafting anything lasting for the present. Their previous efforts, 2009’s Summer of Hate and 2010’s Sleep Forever, name-checked all the influences that you would expect a noise-pop band named after an Echo & The Bunnymen album to worship: there are your Jesus and Mary Chain melodies, covered in layers of fuzz, the free-floating psychedelia of Spacemen 3, and a heavy dose of My Bloody Valentine’s thick, druggy production.
When San Diego noise-pop duo Brandon Welchez and Charles Rowell released their attitude-laden debut Summer of Hate in 2009, many people highlighted the schizophrenic nature of their sound. While warped, sardonic, and overtly confrontational indie disco diatribes such as “I Wanna Kill” sat alongside blissful, peace-loving moments of dream pop such as “Here Comes the Sky,” it felt like the band’s very foundations were built on treating love and death as entirely adverse, separately capsulated themes. A similarly divided approach ensued on 2010’s Sleep Forever, but the jump in production levels, instigated by Simian Mobile Disco’s James Ford, made owners of both albums feel as if they’d just upgraded to “Crocodiles deluxe.
San Diego’s Crocodiles are comforting. You can listen to any track and feel warm, pleasantly content with the scrumptious combination of familiar and simultaneously catchy sounds. Although previous releases Summer of Hate and Sleep Forever have been compared to the shoegazers The Jesus and Mary Chain and LUSH, new release Endless Flowers contains a considerably heavier streak of an ‘80s pop influence.
Maybe I need to get my hearing checked. It seems like in the past every mention of Crocodiles triggered a Jesus and Mary Chain or Echo and the Bunnymen comparison, but while I listen to the San Diego band's third album, Endless Flowers, all I keep thinking about is a Drake song. Don't get me wrong, Crocodiles still rely on bleary guitar distortion, Brandon Welchez's vocals perpetually stuck between a yawn and a sneer, sneaky pilfering of the Spector catalog, and almost nothing else, so no one will confuse Endless Flowers for, say, "Crew Love".
San Diego’s Crocodiles don’t really care to hide who they or where they come from. Their name is also the title of an Echo and the Bunnymen album, and their retro, faded album covers hint at a time that came long ago, long before the band even existed. With that idea of past and nostalgia in mind, primary players Brandon Welchez and Charles Rowell coat themselves in thick, gauzy layers that feel faded and worn.
Endless Flowers slingshots Crocodiles from the psychedelic cobwebs that trapped them on their first two albums and delivers a new batch of genre-bending, guitar-based anthems. If Endless Flowers were an amusement park ride, it would be the Himalaya; it’s loud, dizzying, and fuzzed out, with a throttling overdrive of pop melody that, like most amusement park rides, is enjoyed by all, but best appreciated in small doses. The nostalgia on Endless Flowers plays like My Bloody Valentine cloaked in a paisley shirt and heavily dosed on MDMA, a funhouse of guitar squalor that wears thin when listening as a full-length.
Former Dum Dum Girls drummer, Frankie Rose, has done it. Now Best Coast appears to be doing it. The poppy noise-punk revival of the last two or three years is shedding its reverb-laden skin and slinking itself into a newer, cleaner and shinier outfit resembling Catherine Zeta Jones’ infamous cat suit in ‘Entrapment’. However, Crocodiles’ latest effort, ‘Endless Flowers’, seems to nail the middle ground in a big way and as a result, masterfully takes its place as one of the best albums of the entire aforementioned noise / 60s pop / beach / post-punk movement.Listening to ‘Endless Flowers’ will make you think that this sound is exactly the type that all of their other musical kindred spirits and peers should have strived for.
Noise duo turns down the racket (a little) for LP three. Lou Thomas 2012 Crocodiles have not yet become toothless old beasts just yet – but the San Diego outfit has definitely softened up on this third LP. Throughout Endless Flowers, Brandon Welchez and Charles Rowell (and friends) continue to blend the fuzzy and the sunny in winning ways. It’s lucky their quality control is maintained, too, as getting the noise/melody ratio wrong can have unwelcome consequences.