For album number three, Crocodiles ditched their San Diego base to rehearse and record in Berlin: a modern mecca for every young creative dreaming of black clad boho-littered streets and idea orgies, but not exactly known for awakening dormant pop leanings. The city’s done exactly that for this quintet though, their clattering garage scuzz sprouting epic yell-along choruses and morphing into something altogether more melodic.
And it suits them. Endless Flowers is a dizzyingly good listen; the title track beckoning us into a world of back alley romance and dark art, pops of sonic colour lighting the way as buzzing basslines, pounding drums and soaring keys cloaked in guitar fuzz explode around Brandon Welchez’s McCulloch-esque, yearning vocals. “I fed the cat trembling at my feet, I fed the neighbours curiosity” he croons on the gorgeous opener, giving us a cheeky wink from behind those Wayfarers. ‘Sunday (Psychic Conversation #9)’ is another punchy delight, ‘No Black Clouds For Dee Dee’ brings stabs of strings and ‘60s girl group sass and sparkle, and ‘Electric Death Song’ is anything but morbid with its soaring verses and woozy keys.
The album continues in this vein; teetering between musical light and shade, ecstasy and gloom, the avant-garde and the sing-able, somehow encapsulating all of it. ‘Hung Up On A Flower’ is a spiky creature, Welchez claiming he “swallowed lies” and “when I called her from the gallows, she just said goodnight, but it’s alright, yeah I’ll get by”, before inviting the object of his affections to “annihilate me” on the sonic strop of ‘Welcome Trouble’, and to “swallow me and spit me out, stick me to your wall” and “spin me round and round” with “words so sticky sweet they only rot my teeth” on the brooding psychedelic whirl of ‘Bubblegum Trash’.
The tolling church bells-tinged ‘You Are Forgiven’ is stripped back and sweet despite the singer’s confessions of a “lonely lonely heart” and that “I don’t even know what I know anymore…” but Endless Flowers’ real high point hits halfway through with ‘My Surfing Lucifer’. A sampled fräulein’s chatter is chopped and looped for its unsettling, breathy two minute intro before screeching riffs blast into a smutty, growling glam-rock romp, all glitz and guyliner, tripping down the straße blowing kisses. “He’s my Lucifer, my surfing Lucifer”, howls Welchez, aforementioned ladyfriend coquettishly encouraging him to “go on then” as the track shudders to its deliciously cacophonic finale.
Love, sex, religion and death – all the big’uns – are tackled on these ten songs, and it’s a mighty task that Crocodiles have set themselves, but they pull off the garage punk Baudelaire shtick of Endless Flowers with flair and panache. Sophistication suits them.