With a new label (French Kicks) and three new members in tow, Crocodiles sounds like a brand new band on their third LP, Endless Flowers.
Crocodiles has begun to let their melody drive songs rather than relying on a flood of noise to sweep listeners away. The band has stripped away a layer of noise and added a layer of 60s psychedelia. As a result, these songs are brighter and more nimble.
Right away the difference can be heard. Opener “Endless Flowers” feels almost danceable, something Crocodiles has rarely approached. Songs like “No Black Clouds for Dee Dee” and “Bubblegum Trash” could even be described as sugary and sweet sounding, a long way from the grit and grime of their first record, Summer of Hate.
This is still a noisy band, but they’re no longer a one-trick pony. Endless Flowers is balanced and better for it. This is evident in the album’s standout track “Sunday (Psychic Conversation #9).” The hazy rush of guitar gives the song an edge (the bending pitches are simply awesome) and the blistering chorus make it a summer playlist requirement.
On previous albums, Crocodiles excelled at slower tunes and they don’t disappoint here either. “Hung Up On A Flower” is cool and drifting that devolves into spoken German and grinding guitar. It’s a nice intermission in the middle of the album.
With more popular scuzzy surf rock bands like Wavves and Surfer Blood recording albums in 2012, it’s likely Endless Flowers will be fighting for attention, but with the growth Crocodiles have made they’ve earned a slice of listeners time.
Endless Flowers is out now on the French Kicks label. Crocodiles will play the Cat’s Cradle on July 16. Tickets are $10.