Crocodiles: Sleep Forever

Crocodiles: Sleep Forever

C+

Crocodiles

Album: Sleep Forever
Label: Fat Possum

On their second album, San Diego’s Crocodiles remain devotees of the smeary school of noise-pop, once more paying homage to—or blatantly stealing from—the blissed-out blur of The Jesus And Mary Chain, who should really start charging franchise fees. Crocodiles bordered on Beatlemania-like copycatting on their 2009 debut, Summer Of Hate, playing stoned and dethroned swirls of scuzzy shoegaze from behind permanently affixed Wayfarers. Sleep Forever taps that same throbbing vein, but also sees the newly expanded five-piece moving toward a fuller, shinier sound, engineered by Simian Mobile Disco’s James Ford—which allows it to broaden its inspirations, if not its horizons. The opener, “Mirrors,” marries Krautrock groove to Kevin Shields guitar bends, while the lysergic swells of the title track recall Hit To Death-era Flaming Lips and Spiritualized—an obvious reference for the floating-in-space “Girl In Black” as well. On Sleep’s best tracks, “Stoned To Death” and “Hollow Hollow Eyes,” the band employs a swampy, bunker-thick organ stomp reminiscent of The Monks (or more recently, Clinic). What hasn’t changed is the borrowed attitude and atmosphere substituting for anything unique: At only eight tracks, Sleep Forever feels self-indulgent, the sketchiness of its songs covered up by its layers of exhausting excess. If Crocodiles want to be more than just a photocopy, they need to start drawing their own lines a little sharper.

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