Sunday, 23 March 2014

Album of the Week #17

Artist: Crocodiles
Album: Crimes of Passion
Year: 2013
Label: Frenchkiss

Distortion-heavy 90s rock with pop sensibilities

As the end-of-year lists were flooding in late last year, I couldn't help but feel that one album was being constantly overlooked by the critics - though I'm sure I wasn't alone in feeling like that about at least one album. American duo Crocodiles mix 60s psychedelia with 90s rock in Crimes of Passion, a criminally underrated record that deserves to be brought back to people's attention.

Fuzz, feedback and noise is the name of the game here. It's noise rock in some places, psychedelic rock in others and plain old rock'n'roll elsewhere, all of which are held together by consistently strong pop melodies and crunching riffs. Distorted guitars weave in and out of almost indecipherable vocals telling tales of heartbreak and despair, this sonically chaotic setting the perfect accompaniment to the anguished lyrics.

Crimes of Passion is a record held together and defined by its riffs. She Splits Me Up is the perfect example, its jangly guitar line backed up by another exceptionally strong melody, whilst Teardrop Guitar is more of the same fuzz-pop goodness. Although Crocodiles' influences are fairly signposted - think San Francisco of the 60s and Seattle of the 90s - they have managed to mix these influences and throw in their own pop sensibilities to form a sleek, modern and refined version of this melting pot.

Consistency is another prevalent theme of the record. Although certain songs soar more than others, you're never left skipping any and pretty much all these slices of distortion-coated pop manage to weave their way into your head one way or another. So in that sense, it's difficult to pick any stand-out tracks. Instead, what you have here is an accomplished, consistent selection of tracks in a record that manages to strike the right balance in so many different areas - between noise and pop, long and short, psychedelia and rock. It was only released 7 months ago, so perhaps not quite enough time to be blowing the dust off it just yet, but give this one a spin and you'll be rethinking your best albums of 2013.

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