San Diego duo Crocodiles
debuted in 2009 with Summer of Hate,
wherein thrumming Velvet Underground choogle met fuzz ‘n’ feedback Jesus &
Mary Chain, Spacemen 3’s droney take on Detroit
hard rock and Texas
psychedelia was expertly reprised, and Beach Boys harmonies were
(mis)appropriated for the shoegaze and synth-pop crowds.
Parts of that remarkable debut made for decidedly uneasy
listening; the drugged-out, claustrophobic “Flash of Light” was downright
terrifying. And by evincing a healthy disregard for pro forma studio niceties – these guys never met a chord
progression they couldn’t corrupt, or a mixing board meter they couldn’t run
into the red – Crocodiles had clearly internalized punk’s prime directive. Before one creates, one must first destroy;
then reassemble, using the most basic, primal building blocks.
Sleep Forever, cut
in an isolated Joshua Tree studio with Simian Mobile Disco’s James Ford, elaborates
upon all that but is a leaner, meaner affair, equal parts fuzzed-out glam slam,
Krautrock boogie and latterday disco-punk. From melodic gem “Hearts Of Love” (a
throbbing, strobing number that sculpts a Phil Spector-worthy wall o’ sound
laced with B.B. vox and Duane Eddy twang; the Raveonettes should cover this),
to the scorching Neu!-meets-Suicide-meets-Spiritualized motorik vibe of “Mirrors” to the grimy, Nuggets-worthy distorto-garage of “Hollow Hollow Eyes,” this
astonishing record serves up pop’s head on a platter and makes for one bloody
good buffet that – mark my words (see the rare “9” rating, above) – will be
figuring prominently on 2010 year-end best-of lists very shortly.
of Love,” “Mirrors” FRED MILLS