Crocodiles nail it with latest release, ‘Crimes of Passion’

Stephanie Hernandez

Noise-pop San Diego natives, Crocodiles, have released their fourth album, “Crimes of Passion,” via Frenchkiss Records. The group, formed in 2008, features former members (vocalist Brandon Welchez and guitarist Charles Roswell) of punk bands, The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Towel and Some Girls. Although Welchez and Roswell had been collaborating with one another since the age of 18, it took a few side projects to finally form Crocodiles.

Crocodiles first gained recognition after the Los Angeles based band, No Age, featured their song “Neon Jesus” in Stereogum’s Favorite Artists’ Favorite Things In 2008. Soon after, Mississippi-based record label Fat Possum signed Crocodiles and in 2009, released their first album titled “Summer of Hate.” Since their debut, Crocodiles have gained an underground following and maintained on-going comparisons to the likes of The Jesus and Mary Chain and The Velvet Underground.

In 2010, Crocodiles released yet another album entitled “Sleep Forever.” This album featured hit songs such as “Hearts of Love,” “All My Hate and My Hexes Are For You.” In early 2013, they released their first self-produced album, “Endless Flowers,” becoming their third album since 2009.

“Crimes of Passion” is the group’s latest effort and is creating quite the buzz. While “Endless Flowers” provided listeners with a tighter and cleaner sound, Crocodiles have returned to their roots of fuzzed and reckless noise that made up the first two albums. The song, “Cockroach” which served as the teaser for the new album, presents an array of guitar riffs and foot-tapping beats that will leave listeners begging for more. Take a look at the music video for “Cockroach,” and you will get a deeper glimpse into Crocodiles’ distorted world. With a “VHS-on-acid” style, the video features a guy in his underwear running around disoriented while Welchez and Roswell, donning “too-cool-for-school” sunglasses, spray him down with poison. Weird enough? Viewers also get a few spontaneous quirky dance moves for added effect.

But don’t let the pitch-black video fool you. Produced by the Raveonettes’ Sune Rose Wagner, it seems that on “Crimes of Passion”, Crocodiles have let go of some of their darkness-filled lyrics, heading towards a direction of nostalgia and broken-hearted ballads. Song likes “She Split Me Up” and “Un Chant D’Amour” (the album’s closer), are both reminiscent of the times we thought our heartbreak was the end of the world, spending hours pining for our former flames.

“Crimes of Passion” reminds us why Crocodiles were worth a listen in the first place. They have presented the listener with a good balance of love-esque songs and youthful energy. It is no doubt that the group will continue to achieve success and gain a bigger following with “Crimes of Passion.”

Songs worth listening to: “I Like It In the Dark,” “Marquis de Sade,” “She Splits Me Up,” “Virgin”