Crocodiles - Endless Flowers

Peerless. Absolutely fantastic. Pure and simple.

Label: Souterrain Transmission

Rating: 9

Former Dum Dum Girls drummer, Frankie Rose, has done it. Now Best Coast appears to be doing it. The poppy noise-punk revival of the last two or three years is shedding its reverb-laden skin and slinking itself into a newer, cleaner and shinier outfit resembling Catherine Zeta Jones’ infamous cat suit in ‘Entrapment’. However, Crocodiles’ latest effort, ‘Endless Flowers’, seems to nail the middle ground in a big way and as a result, masterfully takes its place as one of the best albums of the entire aforementioned noise / 60s pop / beach / post-punk movement.

Listening to ‘Endless Flowers’ will make you think that this sound is exactly the type that all of their other musical kindred spirits and peers should have strived for. The album contains a perfect mix of pop immediacy, punky sneer and shoegaze whimsy. Brandon Welchez’s deep dark croon effortlessly alternates between being insolently adolescent to profoundly wounded/lovesick where necessary. The rest of the band, now a five-piece, provides a hefty backing without drowning the vocals into oblivion. Instead of immersing themselves in atonal noise, the band opts to amplify the impact of the songs’ melodies with layers of fuzzy but tuneful guitars. It fills the spaces otherwise occupied by distortion and feedback and turns each song into a formidable musical beast.

In an album full of fantastic songs, the unquestionable scene-stealer is ‘Bubblegum Trash’, which could easily have been the name of the album. A huge, droned riff opens the song before being joined by warm jets of shimmering guitar. Welchez’s lyrics (“with words so sticky sweet/which only serve to rot my teeth.”) drip with a snarling bitterness that is darkly humorous, a Crocodiles’ signature. Then come the soaring harmonies of the chorus that give the song a cathartic and triumphant power. Words can’t do this song justice. Elsewhere, ‘No Black Clouds For Dee Dee’ (presumably referring to Dee Dee Penny, Welchez’s partner and Dum Dum Girls frontwoman) is the coolest, and sweetest prayer for the reprieve of a loved one who is hurting. Imagine how cool it would be if your father wrote this about your mother? If those two ever have kids, their children will be the coolest kids alive. ‘Electric Death Song’ and ‘Endless Flowers’ are both unashamedly sentimental, almost grief-stricken, but energetic.

Continuing to talk about how great this album is, feels pointless. It brings to mind an old saying that “talking about music is like dancing about architecture.” All you need to know is that ‘Endless Flowers’ is an amazing effort that deserves a place at the top of its genre. This album deserves to be heard and loved. Do yourself a favour and get yourself a copy once it hits the stores.