Thursday, 19 September 2013

REVIEW: Crocodiles - 'Crimes Of Passion' (French Kiss Records)

The music of this duo has always reminded me of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club doing The Beach Boys, however their fourth LP 'Crimes Of Passion' expands their horizons to include a wider range of sounds. While their sources are obvious, no other band blends them together quite like Crocodiles, and with album number four they've made this mixture of musical reference points into something distinctive of their own. Accuse me of lazy journalism for all these comparisons i'm making, but what I'm hearing is undeniably a set of songs that make it impossible to ignore their influences. The opening 'Like It In The Dark' is one of four or possibly five initial highlights, laying chiming Echo And The Bunnymen-esque guitar hooks over gospel piano and an upbeat breezy fuzz, suggesting that this could be their strongest collection of songs yet. And it is. 

The affectionate sugar rush of 'Marquis De Sade' features some welcome, unexpected saxophones, and the rattle and shake of the grubby, snarling 'Cockroach' is followed by the dazzlingly joyful melancholy of 'Heavy Metal Clouds', which is as bold and bright as Crocodiles have ever sounded. It's one of the finest examples of how their garage rock noise is sweetened and strengthened with catchy pop hooks that distract from the negativity of the often gloomy lyrics. 'Teardrop Guitar' brings to mind what might have happened if The Bunnymen had Spiritualized's Jason Pierce on vocals and hired a producer who cranked up the distortion, while other moments are equally indebted to late 80's/early 90's indie. The gorgeous shimmer of 'She Splits Me Up' is where Teenage Fanclub meets the Jesus And Mary Chain, while the elegant shoegaze atmosphere that flows through 'Me And My Machine Gun' adds to a sound that also recalls the sensual mystery of The Cure.

The slightly throwaway rock n roll fun that characterises 'Gimme Some Annihilation'' contrasts with the gritty introspection of 'Virgin', almost like a reverb-soaked Smiths. The record ends on a high with the blissful 'Un Chant De Amour', winding things down gracefully like a sunset in paradise.

If you like your dirty, scuzzy rock n roll balanced with splashes of melodic sunshine, then this record will make a nice addition to your collection and for some, an ideal introduction to Crocodiles. 7.8/10




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