Review Summary: Rasin’ the dead with anthemic shoegaze.
Crocodiles personify something interesting and peculiarly popular lately- a reverence for yesteryear. On their second LP, they conjure memories of The Jesus and Mary Chain and like Dr. Frankenstein, the band gives new life to a monster-like, gritty aesthetic a la Echo and the Bunnymen. The once-buried sound is worn and wearied, but with a welcome surge of new life. Polish, walls of reverb, and a shinier production in their arsenal, Sleep Forever
ensures that those pre-SeaAnemone classics won’t do just that, sleep forever. The two San-Diegans concoct a melting pot of gargantuan, sonic hooks coupled with some druggy, drum-heavy droning moments. Added up, we get an incredibly visceral mixture, noisy shoegaze gushing with accessibility and replay value. The success of the death-defying experiment is more satisfying and gratifying than it is death-inducing, as the Crocodiles deal with the departed in style.
From the onset of opening track, “Mirrors,” it’s clear where Sleep Forever
’s strongest abilities lie. The opener takes refuge in a throbbing groove, while Brandon Welchez marries the swelling beat to his dreamy vocals. Seven lushly fuzzy, guitar-led songs follow, proving that Crocodiles have the wherewithal to show some restraint and keep Sleep Forever
to a very manageable, streamlined output. The twosome’s sonic excess of thick, swampy euphoria takes a task on them, and the band comes off a tad exhausted on the bogged-down title track, which comes off too punchy and polished. Luckily, Crocodiles have swagger to spare though; proved by the sharp, edginess of aptly titled “Billy Speed” and the raucous, chanting in “Hearts of Love.” And with an army of keyboards and synths, Crocodiles keep the mood sexy and seductive. Meanwhile, Sleep Forever
treats listeners to horribly morbid themes throughout, only adding to the enthusiastic macabre of the band’s second LP. “Something in the way that you crucify me makes me smile,”
Crocodiles contend in the very first line of the album. With a sophomore album as mesmerizingly awesome as Sleep Forever
though, nobody better be clamoring to crucify these Dr. Frankensteins with pitchforks and torches anytime soon.