Thursday, June 4, 2009

Crocodiles: Summer Of Hate

To be frank, it would be easy to write off Crocodiles as a band that was on a warpath to ape The Jesus And Mary Chain. Yet even if you were so dismissive as to assume such (which would be a mistake), you'd at least have to admit that they're doing a damn good job. The reverb drenched vocals, fuzzy guitars, and drums-machine-but-maybe-not beats all combine to create a stunning homage to the Mary Chain's oeuvre.

But leaving it at that would be like saying Bowie was simply ripping off Bolan, or that Elvis Costello was nothing but a Buddy Holly imitator. Much like Bowie and Costello, Crocodiles wear their influences unabashedly on their sleeve, but then manage to do quite a bit more. By using the foundations of 60's rock, overlaying it with the fuzz of the late 70's, and then laying their own craft on top of it, the band manages to deliver a record that is at once catchy, arty, and original.

The record starts with perhaps the most blatantly accessible track, "I Wanna Kill". With a sing along chorus, a late 50's chord progression, and a Jesus and Mary Chain paint job, it effortlessly ropes the listener in to the band's world. It's immediately followed by the slightly more challenging "Soft Skull (In My Room)", which delivers fabulously syncopated beats and off kilter guitar that toes the line between noise and melody to perfection.

From there the record opens up beyond the simplicity of guitar rock and starts drifting into more adventurous soundscapes. "Here Comes The Sky" offers up a piano ballad dripping with reverb around a classic melody, "Refuse Angels" filters the band's sound through fuzzy beats and a straight-ahead motion, and "Flash Of Light" offers up an Iggy Pop worthy dirge.

The record closes with three tracks that probably push the band's boundries the furthest. "Sleeping With The Lord", "Summer Of Hate", and "Young Drugs" all offer up droney takes on songwriting in their own way. The fact that three songs in a row can have such a similar vibe and yet be completely different stylistically is a tribute the band's ingenuity, and the uniqueness of this record.

It's not every day here at HAD that we stumble upon a record that begs repeat listens, but Summer Of Hate is most certainly one such record. It's a fine line between accessibility and artistry, and to manage both in one fell swoop is more challenging still. Crocodiles have managed to do exactly that, not to mention create a record that feels as effortless as it is enjoyable. Quite frankly, we're so stoked that we can't wait to hear what they do next. And the meantime, well, we're happy to give this one another spin.

mp3: Crocodiles - Soft Skull (In My Room)

Crocodiles play the Bottom Of The Hill Tomorrow Night - Friday, June 5th


Hanan said...

nice post, I'm really liking this band.