I've got a review up at Dusted today of the very buzzy duo known as Crocodiles...whose Summer of Hate I enjoyed a lot more than I expected to.
Christ, this review takes a while to get going, but follow the jump and it'll all make sense:
Lately lo-fi has become the equivalent of distressed jeans. Where once it was an artifact of things like poverty, unfamiliarity with recording equipment and the mental instability that comes with not getting out much, now it’s just another fashion statement. It’s a signifier, an extra layer and, all too often, a way to hide substandard songs. There are probably textile workers in Guatemala who will run your CD-R through an acid bath for a couple of dollars, and it’ll sound just like Wavves. So, when I say that Crocodiles, out of San Diego, are another one of those reverb’d, lo-fi garage psych bands carrying heavy baggage from Jesus & Mary Chain, there’s a suppressed sigh in there somewhere. There’s an emphasis on the word “another.”
And yet, Crocodiles’ first full-length, is quite a bit better than fellow San Diegan Wavves, at least a couple of notches ahead of Crystal Stilts and, oh, far better than Vivian Girls (though maybe not quite as enjoyable as Pains of Being Pure at Heart). Its evocation of the Jesus & Mary Chain, “I Wanna Kill,” hits all the right notes: the subtle roar of feedback under sweetness; the claustrophobic echo of reverb in tight quarters; the dissonance between hook and lyrical murderousness. The main drawback, if there is one, is that it’s too perfect. It sounds an awful lot like “Happy When It Rains.” It’s a kick, but a guilty one.
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Crocodiles (the band)
Crocodiles (the reptiles)