Crocodiles – Crimes of Passion
Since the lo-fi guitar fuzz of early albums Summer of Hate and Sleep Forever, San Diego's Crocodiles have cleaned up their sound immensely. Their shoegaze leanings have been parked, replaced by an altogether sunnier disposition. Maybe those shades welded to their faces may now even be put towards outdoor use?
The honky tonk piano and groove of opener I Like It In The Dark could pass for Primal Scream in Stones mode, while the big hooks and backing vocals of drummer Anna Schulte on Marquis de Sade help Crocodiles explore 'radio friendly pop hit' territory for the first time.
Brandon Welchez' vocals revel in surfing on top of the mix rather than being buried in distortion and there's even some big brass on Heavy Metal Clouds. Edging away from their Mary Chain revivalist roots, Crocodiles now feel like kinsmen to Danish exiles the Raveonettes, maintaining a detached retro cool while never losing sight of melody. Their most engaging excursion yet. [Stu Lewis]