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Album Review
Sleep Forever

Sleep Forever
by Crocodiles

Fat Possum/Inertia

Review Date
8th November 2010
Reviewed by
Courtney Sanders

Crocodiles released their debut album Summer of Hate a couple of years back among a flurry of emerging West coast artists. Littered with hazy reverb and sun-drenched distortion, the lyrics were referential of growing up with sand between ones toes, and it bore a kind of unbridled energy perfect for its summer release, which subsequently set up the anticipation for their Australasian tour. Which was frighteningly disappointing. Welchez, accompanied by co-conspirator Charles Howard nonchalantly rolled around the stage to not a drum machine, but pre-recorded drum backing tracks, generally trying to look, rather than be, the part.

Which is where Sleep Forever comes in. Like the difference between Summer of Hate’s exuberant potential and their disappointing live performance this latest release is inconsistent. A handful of ‘Best Work to Date’ tracks are embedded between drawn-out fillers. It could be symptomatic of a rushed second album, although I feel the culprit is they haven’t quite found a sound they own, consistently. Every track has something going on, and some feel inherently Crocodiles – historical ‘cool’ married with a very now West Coast reverbed arrogance (in the best kind of rock ‘n roll way) – but the rest feel like skeletons; melodies without any flesh or personality to give them life.

‘Hearts of Love’ is a standout, for its unabashed simplicity, actually. A marching-drum beat holds down the percussion while a drizzling of guitar absorbs Welchez vocals about some girl. It’s short, it’s sharp and it’s aggressive. ‘Hollow Hollow Eyes’ is the most exciting and directional track. Religious in its use of organ, it screams (har har) of monochromatic English post punk, of the sort The Horrors are currently peddling. Which is appropriate, because The Horrors provide a remix on the album, as do Cold Cave, which not only places Crocodiles among credible company, but also reflects their current genre-hopping and search for a unique sound.

The album is concluded by the aforementioned remixes and a couple of bonus tracks, one of which is a cover of ‘Groove is in the heart’. They should take a leaf out of Deee-Lite’s book too by embracing their unbridled energy to write the truly unique album they have the potential for, rather than pandering to their referential tendencies. Bring on Album Number Three.


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