Record review: Crocodiles – Endless Flowers (2012, LP)

San Diego indie rockers Crocodiles are a band whose musical output has steadily improved since their formation in 2008. Having recorded their first two albums as a duo before adding three new members and decamping to Berlin to make Endless Flowers, they could never be accused of playing things safe. More refined than the scuzzy punk and psychedelia of previous efforts, album three is chock-full of lo-fi fuzz, noise-rock, power-pop anthems, and more sunny melodies than you can shake a dirty stick at. If The Cure and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart had a baby, it would be hooky second track ‘Sunday (Psychic Conversation #9)’, the distortion on its shoe gaze-y guitars turned up to eleven as front man Brandon Welchez lays on the sentiment in his trademark slacker drawl. The lovesick groove of ‘No Black Clouds For Dee Dee’ proves they can still blend genres with aplomb, as Welchez’s wife Dee Dee Penny (of Dum Dum Girls fame) is serenaded with the brilliantly nonsensical “oh my girl, yes i’m gonna, slowly turn my insides citrus over you.” The sneering vocals and deranged guitars on ‘My Surfing Lucifer’ hark back to earlier Crocodiles releases, while the feedback on late-album highlight ‘Welcome Trouble’ will threaten to obliterate your speakers. It’s exciting to see the band take such a big step forward in terms of songwriting and musicianship, with the additional members helping to fatten out the sound. Where they will go to next is anyone’s guess, but if Crocodiles keep improving at this rate, indie-rock world domination awaits. (Shock Entertainment)

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