Crocodiles

Sleep Forever by Crocodiles (Fat Possum Records)

Listening to Sleep Forever you’d get the impression they were from the UK based on their JAMC meets Stereolab and Spiritualized sound. But the duo of guitarist Charles Rowell and singer Brandon Welchez are from sunny San Diego and they express their love for the above groups along with punk and girl groups on a too short collection of eight songs. James Ford of Simian Mobile Disco and producer of the likes of Klaxons, Arctic Monkeys and Florence & the Machines takes the guys to a studio in Joshua Tree, in the Mojave Desert, and puts some old keyboards and analog equipment in their hands, taking them in a decidedly “krauty, dubby” direction.

Mirrors opens the album with drones, layering a motorik drum beat and chewy bass, thick guitar slashes and Brandon’s heavily echoed vocals to glorious effect. Despite the wall of sound production, Crocodiles make cheerful music.

Stoned to Death’s “ba bum chick” rhythm propels your body to move, as tambourines rattle and keyboards vibrate like an alien death ray into your skull. Hollow Hollow Eyes introduces some girl group pop fun with Brandon’s vocals bouncing off the walls as keyboards tinkle and grind and Rowell’s guitar screeches and scratches devilishly.

Girl in Black, while beatless, is almost impossibly substantial with an ambient noise, lightened up by a chiming keyboard melody. Billy Speed will get your feet tapping and head nodding to the beat and buried “Do doot” background vocals while Welchez’s lyrics “When you die you don’t really die, you just pitch yourself across the sky” echoes around a most excellent psychedelic stomp.

On Sleep Forever, Crocodiles present thick and dreamy, hot and sun-drenched good-time music.

(Review by Bret Miller)

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