Crocodiles, ‘Endless Flowers’ – Album Review
Crocodiles collect opposing descriptors: sublime and disgusting, harmonic and distorted, angry and affectionate. These San Diego stoners come off as a little too cool to care. Lustily lackadaisical, ‘Endless Flowers’ is an alternately lazy and boisterous bouquet, one that tries hard to look effortless.
The opening title track is a Top 40 acid trip, with Charles Rowell and Brandon Welchez’s peppy-paranoid stream of consciousness flipping through media saturation (“I can give you heat through the television screen“) and sloppy domestic drama (“I fed the cat, trembling my feet / I fed the neighbors curiosity“). The neighbors, you must think, had no idea of what the hell was going on. And nor do we, really, as ‘Endless Flowers’ is as drunken as it is sunny.
The fuzz pop is in full froce with ‘Sunday (Psychic Conversation #9),’ the strangest paean to the Sabbath day you’re likely to hear this year: “It’s Sunday and the world loves itself / For all its faults and its explosions of wealth.” Crocodiles pull off the extended adolescence millennial malcontent thing well, with all their technological ambivalence and Luddite romanticism. This is surf rock for the Jesus and Mary Chain gang, equal parts narcotic and sardonic.
Not that it’s all bad. The hilariously titled ‘My Surfing Lucifer’ lives up to its billing more or less, a doo wop fuzz-surf anthem with lovely backing vocals — we’re guessing that’s Welchez’s wife, Dee Dee Penny, lead singer of the Dum Dum Girls. The track comes off as a trippy, Californian Belle and Sebastian — which isn’t a bad thing at all.
The title of ‘Bubblegum Trash’ encapsulates their whole high fructose aesthetic — in turns, young and smiling and drugged and ugly and beautiful. The verses are picture book absurdities (“Rain was pissing down on the avenue where all the flowers go to drown“) all before a drifiting, Spiritualized-esque chorus of “annihilate me.” Lovely, no?
The album closes with the slow, redemptive, and predictable ‘You Are Forgiven,’ with its morning bird chirping and Velvet Underground lethargy. The lyrics are disturbing and sexual — we’ll spare you the details — but the guitar pop is catchy, and in the next verse they’re in church: ‘The choir’s on fire / The lambs been ripped apart.” It’s startling here, though when done in every track, the juxtapositions grow samey. There’s only so much to be wrung out of the flowers and fuzz shtick, and Crocodiles get all they can — which is not that much.