Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Crocodiles prove their creative resilience

"Dreamless"

Release date: 21 October 2016
7/10
Crocodiles Dreamless2016
13 October 2016, 09:57 Written by Erik Thompson
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There has always been a sense of escapism within the music of Crocodiles. Whether it’s the hazy, wayfaring fuzz-pop of their early work, or their recent break from their post-punk influences towards a more melodic, worldly swing, there remains a peripatetic quality within their work that suggests exploratory journeys without fixed destinations in mind.

Brandon Welchez and Charles Rowell recorded Crocodiles sixth LP, Dreamless, in Welchez’s new home of Mexico City. The rich cultural vibrancy of the sprawling metropolis colours the tones of the new record with a jaunty spirit that belies the darker moments of the album’s fractured origins.

Welchez suffered through a lengthy bout of insomnia during the recording session (hence the album’s title), likely tied to stress resulting from the duo’s admitted “relationship troubles, career woes, financial catastrophe, heath issues” that they have dealt with over the past few years. And while there are heavy lyrical aspects to the new batch of songs, the pared down instrumentation and loose arrangements gives the material a brash restlessness that offsets the themes of morbid preoccupation found throughout the record.

"Welcome to Hell" echoes the clubby excess of late-‘80s Madchester, complete with a cheeky kiss-off to any critics who disparage an album that Welchez and Rowell (along with longtime collaborator Martin Thulin) struggled so hard to make. “Oh no, what’s the lonely critic think? / As he scrubs his judgment in his mother’s sink.” Fair enough, but isn't one of the advantages of living at home that your folks would do the cleaning up for you? "Jumping on Angels" is reminiscent of the insubordinate stomp of The Clash’s "Rock the Casbah", while "Time to Kill" takes on a New Romatic electro-pop sheen that is a long way from the combustible psychedelia of their early sound.

An eerie, spoken-word incantation opens the record with an ominous warning, "And you’ll burn, and weep, and suffer". Crocodiles are an artistic embodiment of that suffering as of late, while the world at large continues to weep for the newest tragedy dominating the headlines. But Welchez and Rowell have proven their creative resilience with Dreamless, an album that illuminates the painful moments that plague all of us, while also providing hope that creativity can keep the shadows at bay even in the darkest night.

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