The JangleBox

Indie, Noise, Shoegaze… Music

Crocodiles: Endless flowers (2012)

He leído bastante sobre el tercer disco de Crocodiles: Endless flowers (2012). Y la verdad es que en poco varía mi opinión una vez oído detenidamente el disco. Las expectativas que habían generado en mí sus dos primeros álbumes y el adelanto de éste, Sunday (Psychic conversation#9, me hicieron creer (ingenuamente) que para esta tercera entrega, la música y el sonido de Crocodiles permanecería intacto como el primer día: sonidos guitarreros, distorsión a toda leche, mucha carga de profundidad, algo de mala baba, mucha ironía y ecos Retro (Spector, Ramones, Surf, Jesus and Mary Chain...). La realidad se ha dado de bruces contra mi deseo. Crocodiles han decidido tomar un nuevo rumbo (al menos para este álbum) en el que bucean entre las más relajadas aguas Pop y una suerte de pasteleo ridículo que les lleva a querer asemejarse a ciertas actitudes que no les pegan en absoluto. Lo suyo eran las gafas de sol y la pose chulesca. Ahora se han dedicado a temáticas mucho más edulcoradas, dejando atrás el Noise y la distorsión. Es como si a Iggy Pop lo pusieras a cantar baladas en francés (joder, ésto también ha ocurrido…). La música tiene entos entresijos, y yo debo ser una especie de romántico del Noise, de la rabia, de las melodías bestias y de las actitudes cool.
No me ha gustado nada este tercer álbum de Crocodiles. Sólo me han llenado algunos momentos puntuales: Sunday (Psychic conversation#9), My surfing Lucifier, Bubblegum trash, Welcome trouble… El resto del disco me parece un ejercicio de estilo (fallido) en el que han querido transmutarse en playeros con cazadoras de cuero y gafas de sol. Pero lo mal es que tampoco les ha dado para ésto. Pues quédense con Dee Dee en la arena reflexionando sobre el álbum tan flojo que nos han ofrecido o al menos sobre cómo mejorarlo. Yo seguiré escuchando Sleep forever.

Crocodiles – Endless flowers (2012)

“Maybe I need to get my hearing checked. It seems like in the past every mention ofCrocodiles triggered a Jesus and Mary Chain or Echo and the Bunnymen comparison, but while I listen to the San Diego band’s third album, Endless Flowers, all I keep thinking about is a Drake song. Don’t get me wrong, Crocodiles still rely on bleary guitar distortion, Brandon Welchez’s vocals perpetually stuck between a yawn and a sneer, sneaky pilfering of the Spector catalog, and almost nothing else, so no one will confuse Endless Flowers for, say, “Crew Love”. But I remember back when Drake used the line, “I’m trying to do better than good enough,” part of which also doubles as the title for his documentary, and that phrase echoes throughout this record because, well, it speaks to why Endless Flowers is Crocodiles’ best album and also their most frustrating. They’re simply trying to do good enough and no more.
In other words, while Welchez and company haven’t gotten any more ambitious over the past few years, they have refined their craft to the point of foolproofing. The mere presence of titles like “Electric Death Song” and “Bubblegum Trash” are evidence enough that Crocodiles know exactly what they’re bringing to the table, and indeed Endless Flowers intends to lead the current pack in terms of dressing up 60s pop confection in studded leather. You can largely attribute it to their increasingly spiffy production; Simian Mobile Disco’s James Ford set the band’s trajectory on the right path with 2010’s Sleep Forever by forefronting melody rather than murk and as their first LP recorded as a five piece, Endless Flowers follows its lead, its most notable addition being that of a sunny disposition (compare this album title to the previous two). It’s debatable whether Crocodiles are unerringly consistent because they’ve simply gotten better or because they’re hitting bullseyes on increasingly wide targets with all these brisk tempos, agreeable major keys, tried-and-true song structures, and wide-angle melodies that crest, resolve, and hit 7th-notes like they couldn’t be composed any other way. Aficionados of Spector pop could probably nerd out trying to spot the references like soul fans listening toDonuts, although “Welcome Trouble” turns its title into double entendre by all but stealing the riff from Wilco’s “Outtasite (Outta Mind)”. And while the hard-charging title track and “Dark Alleys” still conjure the received image of rugged motorcycle culture vis-à-vis emaciated Brits, these aren’t for choppers, it’s more the sort of thing that’s equipped to sound good in Hondas or attempt to sell them.
And it should ultimately play well to those of us who think the first Black Rebel Motorcycle Club record has stood the test of time. Yet by focusing on such a specific set of influences,Endless Flowers feels incapable of any sort of genuine revelation: When the rounds of female backup vocals tart up “My Surfing Lucifer”, “No Black Clouds for Dee Dee” spikes the prom-pop punch, “Dark Alleys” hits the Autobahn, or “Hung Up 0n a Flower” trudges through six minutes of “fly”/”high”/”lie” rhymes, they have an air of inevitability rather than surprise, and Crocodiles come off like a band that’s been living off an artistic trust fund from Jason Pierce.
It’s ultimately a testament to the perks and limitations of “record collector rock,” but not in the way Saint Etienne explore how human beings deal with music as their primary form of social interaction. You know what Welchez likely listens to in his spare time, but you never quite catch what they do for him or where Crocodiles see themselves within the lineage. His vocals bray without actually projecting much and it’s unfortunate that out of everything Welchez says on Endless Flowers, a bashful admission like, “If you were a daisy/ Thirsting for a fix/ I’d gladly be the dew” from “No Black Clouds For Dee Dee” is pretty much the only one that strikes an emotional chord because the title lets us know it’s about a real person (Welchez’s wife, Dum Dum Girls leader Dee Dee). More pertinent is Endless Flowers’introductory line of “I’m waiting here with my tear/ On a crooked staircase with this melody,” which could be read as an acknowledgement Endless Flowers exists mostly within the realm of vinyl grooves and sleeves rather than flesh and blood” (pitchfork.com)

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22 junio, 2012 - Posted by | Crocodiles

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