Reviewed by: Max Miller
You’ve got to hand it to San Diego noise-rockers Crocodiles — they’ve displayed a great deal of tenacity. Across six years, five albums and a rotating lineup revolving around vocalist/guitarist Brandon Welchez and guitarist Charles Rowell, they’ve become the type of band that no one claims as their favorite, but with which everyone seems to have come in contact. Their disposable noise-pop tunes have made them easy fodder for mixtapes, and their music, tinged equally by noise, shoegaze and bubblegum-garage, winds up locating them in several Spotify “related artists” lists.
Boys, their fifth LP, takes the pop-rock ball and runs with it until it’s made it past the goal line, out of the stadium and into the parking lot. Didn’t that happen in Forrest Gump? There’s a tagline for you: Crocodiles — the Forrest Gump of noise-rock. They’re charming and likable, but you still feel just a little awkward sitting listening to them on a park bench. There’s a facelessness to Boys that has plagued much of their catalog. Bouncy numbers with groovy basslines shuffle by, hardly announcing themselves, until suddenly a tune like “The Boy Is A Tramp” interjects itself, sounding something like Ennio Morricone trying to write a shoegaze song (or maybe a shoegaze band trying to write an Ennio Morricone composition — I can’t decide).
But then it’s right back to the serviceable echo-y King Tuff riffs and blandly hooky choruses, interspersed with the occasional slow-burner like “Blue” or “Don’t Look Up”. Peaks and valleys, peaks and valleys. It’s like a long drive; sure, the scenery is nice occasionally, but in the end you start losing hope after the umpteenth time over the horizon just yields another horizon.