[sic] Magazine

Crocodiles – Boys

Applaud the effort. It seems you just can’t keep a good crocodile down for Boys is Brandon Welchez and Charles Rowell’s fifth LP in only six years. Their last, the cleaner and Sune Rose Wagner-produced Crimes Of Passion, proved that, shelving their shoegazier leanings aside, Crocodiles are yet to deviate far from a template of sleazy surf-rock, indie fuzz and outright pop. Crimes Of Passion was nectar to many fans as a result. Every track was pop gold, yet, nevertheless, these same songs were overly predictable too.

Looking to freshen up their act therefore, the San Diego duo travelled to Mexico City to record Boys with Martin Thulin, but too much shouldn’t be made of the self-proclaimed “salsa-punk” it produced. True, the exotic hand-drums of “Kool TV” add some colour and the surprising “Don’t Look Up” partners a Casio-beat Latino rhythm with a teary vocal and a pretty guitar part to good effect, but Boys is sufficiently busy for all these elements to simply slide into the mix.

Crocodiles have been responsible for some picture-perfect if trashy tunes over their prolific career to date and the trick has always been to ensure their one-use pop didn’t sour on repeat. As such, their runaway melodies often look to the anchor of guitar noise to keep a track’s feet on the ground and Boys flits all over the map with the same result. “Foolin’ Around”, for example, harnesses “Billie Jean” bass-funk as well as crunchy garage strut and squiggling synth. Putting the ball back in the frosty court of The Raveonettes, both “Blue” and the misty-eyed ballad “The Boy Is A Tramp” dig deep into classic rock ‘n’ roll for heavily reverbed shuffles and acoustic-led ethereality.

“Crybaby Demon”, on the other hand, courses a pretty neat repeato groove while swirling guitars frolic on top of distortion. Surf-popper “Do The Void” continues Welchez and Rowell’s love affair with the poppiest end of the J&MC canon. How else would you explain it being one of only two tracks ever to contain the adjective “syphilitic”? And, finally, Boys wouldn’t be a Crocodiles album at all without a track like “Transylvania”, killer fuzz-pop bobbing around on crunchy guitars and wild sax skronk much like Crimes Of Passion’s “Marquis De Sade”. Catchy, unpredictable and slightly bonkers, Boys is how pop music ought to be.

Best track: “Do The Void”

~Boys is released May 11th 2015 via Zoo Music~