Crocodiles are Dreamless on sixth studio album

dreamlessCrocodiles is the snappy moniker for duo Brandon Welchez and Charles Rowell. Their new record Dreamless is their sixth studio album. It sees the duo depart from their trademark lo-fi noise pop and spend more time focusing on synth and piano.

Opening track “Telepathic Lover” begins with a sinister sample of a man repeating “and you’ll burn and weep and suffer.” Crocodiles originally used that sample with ironic intent for the first ever 7" they made together as teenagers. This time around the condemning preacher offers a “commentary on life”; Crocodiles really proving that growing up is no fun at all. However it's not all doom and gloom, as they can still write a killer pop song.

Jokes aside, it seems to have been a testing time for Crocodiles: “The past two years had been fraught with difficulty for us - relationship troubles, career woes, financial catastrophe, health issues.” You’d assume that the tone of this album would be much more sombre than it is, when in fact, there’s an underlying groove to the whole album that makes Dreamless rather positive.

“Telepathic Lover” sees the duo ditch their trade mark fuzz for a cleaner sound made with acoustic guitars and spritely keys. It’s lyrically eloquent, and succinctly describes someone we’ve all had in our lives, that knows you so well it’s like they’re reading your mind. It sets the bar for a new approach to music for the band.

Quotes that have inspired this album seem to mismatch the overall outcome. Dreamless undeniably has a lot less fuzz, but it isn’t all that far away from their previous album, Boys. The one song that has 'zero guitar' in is actually undefinable. It's clear Crocodiles haven’t really disposed of as much guitar as they would have liked, but the mesh of the guitar and keys is a welcomed addition to their sound.

Ironically, "Welcome to Hell” leads with a repetitive guitar hook, and is one of the more palatable listens. It's funk infused but also has an echoed, psychedelic feel to it. It has a lot less distortion than the rest of the album and feels like more of a musical exploration. Bradon Welchez’s cocky talk-singing is perfect for the feel of the song.

The album continues to dip in and out Crocodiles' trademark rock, but ultimately transforms into a more experimental effort from the pair. “Alita” has an almost 80s reggae synth pop feel to it, and is about Welchez's brief relationship with a “sexy fantasma”. “Time to Kill” has a part 80s electro pop with a slightly psychedelic character, but is also according to Rowell a track about how oppressed the poor are in America. These two tracks really show the change that Crocodiles have gone through alongside some whacky lyrical notions.

Despite the way Crocodiles have spoken about Dreamless, it’s a surprisingly fun album. The duo definitely has a devil may care feel to their music, but they are witty and although at time serious, clearly have no qualms with letting-loose. The album may have been about suffering, but sometimes the best solution is to roll with the punches and just have a good time.

Release: 21st October 2016, Zoo Music

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