San Diego’s Crocodiles are comforting. You can listen to any track and feel warm, pleasantly content with the scrumptious combination of familiar and simultaneously catchy sounds.
Although previous releases Summer of Hate and Sleep Forever have been compared to the shoegazers The Jesus and Mary Chain and LUSH, new release Endless Flowers contains a considerably heavier streak of an ‘80s pop influence. Endless Flowers breaks from the heady brilliance of Sleep Forever or the crunchy Summer of Hate. It’s less brooding, and much more polished.
Smiths-y opener “Endless Flowers” oozes ‘80s indie pop, featuring pleading vocals that would make Morrissey grin. It then transitions seamlessly into “Sunday (Psychic Conversation #9),” becoming difficult to discern where one track begins and the other ends. “No Black Clouds For Dee Dee,” presumably a ballad dedicated to Brandon Welchez’s wife (Dee Dee Penny of Dum Dum Girls) reeks of high school proms and decaying corsages, melting onto your tongue and lingering like a frosting that’s just a bit too sweet. “Electric Death Song” sounds eerily similar to the first few tracks, blending into the album and becoming easily forgotten.
The album’s centerpiece is the gradual, brooding “Hung Up on a Flower.” With undertones of mystifying drones complementing Welchez’s cracked vocals musing about being hung up on someone and finding zero gratification from anything resurfaces an intense nostalgia. “My Surfing Lucifer” feels lukewarm, barely singing as opposed to the slow burn that it intends. “You Are Forgiven” exudes an inevitable Spacemen 3 vibe, mantra-like vocals a refreshing twist on the album’s consistent uptempo theme.
Crocodiles are at their best when crafting distorted, grimy noise jams with a bite a la Summer of Hate. The blindingly sunny Endless Flowers is an album appropriate for the beginning of the summer, all popsicles, poppy beats and poolside parties coalescing into warm nights. Yet the shadows that sparkle and fade for a few fleeting instances during those afternoons are not only a break from the heat, gloriously tickling your skin, but necessary for the appreciation of the days themselves.