On first listen, all that Sleep Forever by Crocodiles offers is lo-fi mess, but if you give it time and let it in - like you should with many great albums - it reveals itself as one of the most lovable psychedelic gems of the year.
After an unnecessary minute of feedback build-up, track one (Mirrors) kicks off. It is the sort of song that Dinosaur Jr. have been trying to come up with for the last 15 years or so, full of echoing vocals and razor sharp guitars. It is perfect uplifting garage pop.
Following on from this is Stoned to Death, which goes down a more 1960s influenced psych-rock path (think The Doors or The Velvet Underground; or if you are less familiar with that era of music think Beck's 2008 Modern Guilt album, a thinly veiled homage to the genre). Hollow Hollow Eyes again goes down this path, with spooky haunted house style organs added to the mix. It is a riveting and fun listen once you've learnt to understand its initial complexities.
After a mid-album lull in the unnecessarily long Girl in Black, the album's title track Sleep Forever kicks off like a more guitar driven version of The Flaming Lips, with an incredibly anthemic chorus that just could not get any bigger if it tried.
The album closes with the more keyboard and synthesiser led epic All My Hate and My Hexes Are for You which shows another side to an interesting band and it seems to be the only time on the album where the vocals take centre stage, with witty couplets like "No love to spend on you/ I can piss away my cash, but my time I can't get back". It is an uncharacteristically calm way to finish off the album.
And that is just the thing with Crocodiles. Just when you think you've got the measure of them, they throw something new and entirely out of the left field into the mix for you to chew on. This album is certainly a grower: there is simply too much to grasp on one listen alone. Give it a chance to shine and you won't be let down.