I’m glad this album comes before the end of this summer of 2013. It’s ideal for this season: upbeat without being too syrupy, but also echoey and deep without bordering on Morrissey-levels of gray emptiness.
If you were seeking the soundtrack for your timelapse footage of the trip out to Coachella, look no further.
Sleep Forever is the sophomore album from Crocodiles, formed from the refuse of The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower, Some Girls and an assortment of other mostly San Diego-based groups. As a huge Plot fan myself, hearing Brandon Welchez’s voice again is a joy.
As I wrote about their debut Summer of Hate, the brothers Crocodile play a brand of lo-fi noise rock, but also blending elements of krautrock, chillwave and shoegaze but shy from shoring up in either. It’s an intriguing mix for sure, one that on the surface should not work.
The album opens with its best song “Mirrors,” which begins in true, unabashed punk fashion like this:
Something in the way you crucify me
It makes me smile.
The rest of the song may be an homage to the how their debut was received, which I have to admit was underwhelming. The good news here is that what really worked on Summer of Hate has been amped up significantly on Sleep Forever: gorgeous harmonies led by Welchez’s fervent vocals, warm, crunchy bass atop plenty of fuzz, and Brit rock-esque riffs.
The dearth of the album works well to its benefit. At just 8 tracks, it’s concentrated fury marked by a horde of reverb and feedback. At its best, “Stoned to Death” is the earworm of your summer, and the refrains on “Sleep Forever” are pure bliss. “Girl in Black” and closer “All My Hate and My Hexes Are for You” harken back to Summer of Hate, a tip-of-the-hat to their debut.
In so many words, Sleep Forever is a colossal middle finger to the Pitchfork crowd, proving that a forged path can be revisited to much improvement, not abandoned in the face of anonymous criticism.
From their sophomore release, this is Crocodiles’ “Stoned to Death” –
Standout tracks: “Mirrors” and “Hearts of Love” and “Sleep Forever”
Weakest track: “Girl in Black”
RIYL: Lo-fi noise rock, experimental post-punk, neo-wave. Dum Dum Girls, Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower.