San Diego's Crocodiles have traditionally traded on a noisy, arty sound indebted to The Jesus and Mary Chain and even hints of My Bloody Valentine. On 'Boys', the duo's fifth full LP, Crocodiles have developed a great big pop side to their distorted rumblings, and are all the better for it.
That isn't to say that the band have thrown aside their trademark sounds, as is demonstrated on the album's opening number 'Crybaby Demon'. This tune opens with washes of heavily distorted guitars, sitting atop a driving rhythm with a groovy, 1960s psychedelic feel to it. Next up is recent single 'Foolin' Around', whose bassline features an astounding number of the same notes as that of Michael Jackson's 'Billie Jean'. This aside, the song is probably the most accessible Crocodiles song yet, equal parts Dandy Warhols cool and Super Furry Animals weird. It is not only a totally danceable hip piece of alternative rock, but also an unusual and unexpected (and wholly enjoyable) hybrid.
Elsewhere on the album, Crocodiles refuse to play by the rules and go into all sorts of weird little nooks and crannies, such as the dirty, nasty, fuzzed up 'Do The Void', the elevator-music-gone-wrong melancholia of 'Don't Look Up' and the spaghetti western influenced 'Blue'.
Perhaps the most unexpected delight on the LP though, is the surprisingly refined 'The Boy Is A Tramp'. This song leans heavily on influences like The Velvet Underground, and features an almost cinematic instrumental section, led by a string section. Crocodiles no longer do things by halves.
Without a doubt, this is Crocodiles most direct and accessible album to date, with some tunes aimed squarely at the mainstream. This adventurous duo are a pair of total musical chameleons who hit the ground running whichever style they choose to dabble in.
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