might lose you in its opening trio of songs as they are all essentially the same; rocking, noise-y, blissful pop tunes that have retro undertones (think the John Travolta/Uma Thurman dance in Pulp Fiction
), but you shouldn't stop there as there are undeniable treasures waiting your triumphant patience and curiosity. Crocodile's 2nd full length album delves into hints of shoegaze and boisterous indie rock and while never really relying or excelling at either one, Crocodiles mesh their sounds into an almost eerie and sublime aesthetic akin to its wonderful album cover. Think A Place To Bury Strangers without the abrasiveness and grandiose effect; where A Place To Bury Strangers subject the listener to overwhelming noise and pumping rhythms (most notably Exploding Head
), Crocodiles zig where Strangers zag, and come out the other end of the rompous tunnel smaller, and slightly less effective.
isn't perfect by any means and at first listen the way the songs are ordered seems and sounds like a complete failure. "Mirrors", "Stoned To Death", and "Hollow Hollow Eyes" are all well written songs in their own right that keep the tempo up and pressure on the listener, but together sound like one giant song with three different segments that don't deviate enough for much of anything to be interesting. And it's sad, because Crocodiles obviously have talent and a knack for well-timed melodies (the "my poison apple / poison apple"
bit comes to mind in one of the catchier moments on "Hollow Hollow Eyes") and an ear for atmosphere and tension. Pun intended, the first three songs can literally make you feel like your "asleep forever" as you're adrift in an endless ocean of noise, even if there are cute little pop songs hidden under all that sound.
But, my god. My goodness
. "Girl In Black" transforms Sleep Forever
from just another indie record of 2010
into something much more. Now, this could have been another noise-ridden pop song in vein of the first three that honestly would have made Sleep Forever
more cohesive in the long run, but "Girl In Black" instead is the light at the end of the tunnel, the ultimate breath of clarity in this shut-in album. Airy, light as a feather, void of any percussion, and dreamy as they come, vocalist Brandon Welchez brings us into Crocodile's true world with his swaying lines of "girl in black there is no where / that I can't find the words to say / what a hold you have on me / my heart my soul my misery / if you had to walk for me / I'd follow you into the sea / laughing at eternity / laughing at eternity"
that are presented so confidently and so beautifully, it truly makes anything Sleep Forever
throws at you well worth it. I don't usually put too much stock into one song on an album, no matter how marvelous, but "Girl In Black" is just one of those exceptions
; a song that sounds and feels like the song of not just 2010, but an expression of love and loss at this new turn of the decade.
After the glimmering peak that is "Girl In Black", the remainder of Sleep Forever
falls back into the same dungeon as the beginning of the album; a noise-rock album that's extremely soft to the senses, a dreamy escape into catchy pop territory. The title track and closer "All My Hate And My Hexes Are For You" are also strong on their own right but are eventually drowned out by the overarching repetiton of the album. So stands Sleep Forever
; an album that is essentially a summit of sound, surrounding a beaming, glistening mountaintop in the middle.