Crocodiles have existed in various incarnations since 2008, evolving from the original core of Brandon Welchez and Charles Rowell into the five-piece we see today. With two previous albums, 2009’s Summer Of Hate and 2010’s Sleep Forever, the band garnered righteous praise for their intoxicating blend of scuzzy, surfy, lo-fi noise pop and their thrilling live shows. But, finding themselves having to make a hasty exit from their San Diego hometown last spring, they headed to Europe, landing in Berlin to rehearse and record their superb third album, Endless Flowers.
Settling into an apartment on Berlin’s Gaudystraße last summer, the band thought they’d landed on their feet with free rehearsal space and unlimited refreshments when their neighbour, Helmut Katzenflugen, the manager of a local club, Ficken 2000, offered them a month’s residency at the club. Alas, the club’s proprietor had fired them before they finished their first set, so incensed was he by their “goddam racket” distracting the club’s naked dancers from flirting with the clientele and parting them from their cash. But the club remained a favourite hangout for the band during their months in Berlin it was where they befriended the local rough boys (handy when looking for “chemical aids” to the recording process) and provided a nocturnal incubator for an album of glorious pop nuggets that arrive cloaked in a heavy disguise of noise and echoing weirdness. As Katzenflugen, who went on to become a close friend of the band, recalls upon first hearing the LP.
“No two [songs] were alike, though all were held together by strong hooks and strange layers of floating atmosphere. You could almost smell through the speakers the spilled beer and sticky booths of Ficken 2000. Charles' guitar playing alternated between lost-in-space weightlessness and jagged brush-strokes of aural violence. He seemed to strike the perfect balance between his intellectual and more primal tendencies. Marco and Anna cut a strong figure as the rhythm section. Her love of Klaus Dinger ("Mein Klaus", she called him) was evident in the motorik march of Dark Alleys, while her affinity for Robert Wyatt and Tommy Ramone, two of her other drum idols, was showcased elsewhere. Marco's prowess on the bass was demonstrated in the fluidly melodic runs of some of the album's poppier moments and the thuggish minimalism of some of its more experimental ones. Robin, the group's secret weapon, held the album together with her mastery of the organ, contributing moments of Modern Lovers-esque sublimity on one song then swathes of dreamy murk the next. In many places on the record she sang harmony with Brandon, the group's singer and occasional rhythm guitarist. While her voice provided an ethereal relief from the distortion, his varied from a trash can croon to pure adolescent snot.”
ENDLESS FLOWERS TRACKLISTING:
Endless Flowers // Sunday (Psychic Conversation #9) // No Black Clouds For Dee Dee // Electric Death Song // Hung Up On A Flower // My Surfing Lucifer // Dark Alleys // Bubblegum Trash // Welcome Trouble // You Are Forgiven
Crocodiles are: Brandon Welchez (vocals, guitar), Charles Rowell (guitar), Marco Gonzalez (bass), Anna Schulte (drums), Robin Eisenberg (keyboards).