Crocodiles’ “Boys” Leaves An Impressive Residue On Our Stereo Speakers

The great WABC DJ Dan Ingram once memorably followed up some disco-era hit by saying “that song is so dirty it leaves a stain on your car radio.” On their amazing new album, Boys, Crocodiles rubs at least a bit of salsa mixed with club sweat on our speakers, and we mean that as high praise.

Through their early albums, the easy reference point for describing what Crocodiles sounded like was to cite Psychocandy-era Jesus and Mary Chain.  This was a little less true on the wonderful Crimes Of Passion, which took the #5 spot on Tulip Frenzy’s 2013 Top Ten List, and it’s less true here.  If you didn’t know better, and you heard “Foolin’ Around” come shimmering across the border radio from Tijuana, you’d be forgiven for immediately thinking it was an outtake from Blur’s The Magic Whip. For if there is a guitar sound that Brandon Welchez and Charles Rowell seem to be grasping for here, it’s Graham Coxon’s.  That’s a good place to be.  Chunky chords, frayed at the edges, over a rhythm section with so much more soul than is usually produced by SoCal punks, it sounds like it was recruited off a Mexico City dance floor.

We also loved the Haunted Hearts record last year, you know, the duet that Welchez and his bride, Dee Dee of the Dum Dum Girls, put together between their two outfits’ tours.  Of all three projects, to these ears, Crocodiles has the longest tail, the sharpest teeth, the greatest menace.  On Boys, even as the clock ticks in their belly, Crocodiles seem intent on letting Peter Pan live on in polymorphous, not to mention polyrhythmic, perversity.  It makes sense that “Peroxide Hearts” sounds like it came straight off Sally Can’t Dance, because there is something about Crocodiles’ sound that seems as devoid of natural fibers as anything Lou Reed produced in his butchest period. And while there was piano on Crimes of Passion, we don’t ever want to hear these guys strum an acoustic guitar: this is airless, smoky, sinuous music, thrilling in its low-budget reverb.  And yeah, especially if you play it over and over as we have, it leaves a stain on your speakers.

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