by Helen Earnshaw |
Album: Endless Flowers
Label: Souterrain Transmissions
From their faded album covers to their Echo & The Bunnymen derived moniker, everything about Crocodiles screams of a desire to return to an era when vinyl was king.
Now on their third album, the San Diego derived (and now Berlin based) duo of Brandon Welchez and Charles Rowell are still far from abandoning their nostalgia soaked and distortion obsessed roots.
Evoking the sombre pop of the 60s and 80s, Crocodiles hope to bring more than a little of that panache to Endless Flowers.
Far too often though, Welchez‘s sneering, slurring vocals are simply overpowered by the dominant guitar riffs and percussion rhythms that permeate the record. While in both Sunday (Psychic Conversation #9) and Dark Alleys these riffs are a highlight adding creative feedback loops and a driving pace, but this isn’t usually the case.
When the vocals escape the clutches of the background such as in No Black Clouds For Dee Dee they give the songs a much more rounded feel, almost as if they have emerged from under an audio cloud.
It’s a real feature of Endless Flowers, with the lighter sounds of No Black Clouds and Bubblegum Trash doing battle throughout with the darker Hung Up On A Flower, Welcome Trouble and the simply unnerving first two minutes of My Surfing Lucifer.
The slurring doesn’t stop at the vocal stage though, with both the title track Endless Flowers and Electric Death Song dipping into the dangerous waters of monotony more than a couple of times. A tendency to slip into navel-gazing millennialism when it comes to lyrics doesn’t help matters one jot.
Despite having the occasional moments of great quality, Endless Flowers also has a horrible trick of being rather exhausting to listen to. All expect those craving a feast of woozy, bleary throwbacks are recommended to consume Endless Flowers in bite sized chunks.
While swinging between power-pop and far more swooning attempts at romanticism, Endless Flowers never quite escapes its own little groove long enough to offer anything other than established fans a whole lot.
Crocodiles - Endless Flowers is out now
FemaleFirst Cameron Smith