It has been a tough year for New York's Crocodiles since the release of their fifth album Boys last May. Suffering all manner of difficulties, it's a wonder they have even come back at all, never mind so soon. When listening to Dreamless, their sixth album, forget everything you know about Crocodiles. Forget those searing signature washes of distortion laden guitar, because Crocodiles have gone experimental.
The LP opens with the ethereal Telepathic Lover, which is somewhere between 60s pop, spaghetti western music and Joy Division. This perfectly crafted pop song is led by a driving bass line and the distinctive Crocodiles vocal drawl is still there but the buzz saw guitars are notably absent. And do you know what? You don't miss them.
Next up is Maximum Penetration, which again shies away from the guitars but pairs the insistent drumming and slinky bass work with more subtle keyboards. To say that this LP is more experimental sells it short; there are still a bunch of total anthems here such as the extreme disco of Welcome to Hell and the sure-fire indie banger Jumping On Angels. There's a lot here that old school Crocodiles fans will identify with.
When the band tackle some new sounds and dynamics though, is when Dreamless really comes to life. The variety on offer here is astounding: Dark and twisted Cumbian pop crossover of Alita, early 90s techno on Time to Kill and the menacing minimalism of Go Now. This is without doubt some of Crocodiles' best work.
Make no mistake, there are a lot of strange new sounds on Dreamless but this is still undeniably a Crocodiles record; don't forget, this band have never been ones to play it safe. In ditching the guitars and pushing themselves to make something different and try these new things, Crocodiles have created their definitive statement.
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