Album Review: Crocodiles – “Sleep Forever”

Last year, duo Charles Rowell and Brandon Welchez caught the attention of many with the dark and druggy post-punk Summer of Hate and its less than subtle influences of The Jesus And Mary Chain.  And while Crocodiles lean heavily upon these influences, almost mimicking them, their sophomore album, Sleep Forever, shows that their music is starting to form its own identity, becoming good enough to stand on its own.

 With James Ford of Simian Mobile Disco producing this album, the layered instruments are bolder, complimenting the more developed, sharper song-writing of the San Diego band.  The opener “Mirrors,” begins with slow and subtle beats, unfurling into an 80s-esque upbeat blend of psychadelic synths and echoing vocals.  “Stoned To Death” follows by immediately jumping into a swampy, drum-heavy repitition of distorted riffs and distant vocals, later accompanied by an organ.  “Hollow Hollow Eyes” is one of the better and funkier tracks, where the band’s heavier use of the organ helps to swing the song into a mesmerizing swirl of sound.  Crocodiles explore their range of sound with the slower, romantic “Girl in Black” and the more poppy “Hearts of Love.”  With the explosive sing-along chorus, accompanied by a tinkling glockenspiel, “Hearts of Love” might be the catchiest track on the album. 

 Sleep Forever is an improved extension of the smeary, gritty sound of 2009’s Summer of Hate.  It’s eight tracks of louder, fuller and more concrete jangle noise pop.  I would commend Crocodiles for their progress.  Still, the album retains a similarity to the last–it’s enjoyable but certainly not revolutionary.

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