Crocodiles

The days of getting into new bands by the thank you's in the liner notes of a record are sadly long gone, as bittorrent downloads don't come with such added details, but the ever increasing ripples of excitement that are emanating from this band have largely originated from the fact that No Age included their self released 7" Neon Jesus in their Top Ten Songs of 2008.

The fact that No Age mentioned them in the first place is in itself quite misleading. Crocodiles are pretty scuzzy with ample feedback and effects permeating through each note but their adherence to pop sensibilities remove them quite considerably from the brand of noise punk that No Age craft. Long time friends Charles Rowell and Brandon Welchez hail from sunny San Diego and I guess Summer Of Hate emerges from an alternative and less glamorous Californian life that is filtered over to us here, a life of hum drum days and bored teenagers. So as a result you get an album drenched in hazy sunshine but dripping with grime. I say 'dripping with grime' but this may be a slight exaggeration. One scratch at this greasy surface and a gleaming pop structure reveals itself below. In fact, without even scratching another structure reveals itself, that of The Jesus And Mary Chain. I Wanna Kill, an extremely catchy piece of scuzz pop, is built almost entirely on the frame work of Head On, the same drum beats and a hook that follows the 80's hit to the letter. But instead of holding this against them, the song and the rest of the record is so satisfying that I find myself carrying on regardless. Soft Skull (In My Room) is a damn near perfect blend of dub rock and art-punk madness.

The record can be divided quite equally into two types of approach, that of the afore mentioned spiky pounders and the tripped out atmospherics of songs like Here Comes The Sky and the title track which swirls around like a modern day Velvets submerging the distant vocals in layer upon layer of effect laden melodies. There's enough of a blend of 80's synth beats and very contemporary punk rock grit to make this much more than a cheap rehash. It has a refreshingly different agenda than a lot of the noise pop acts around at the moment. It isn't very noisy and it doesn't aim to pummel you but rather seethes with tension and anxiety. Though Crocodiles at times seem to be hovering tentatively on the fringes of the noise punk sound as if not quite confident enough to dive headlong in their decision to keep an eye on melody make this a familiar yet rewarding listen.