On ‘Dreamless’, Crocodiles have put the focus squarely on the psychedelic soundscapes they’ve constructed. There’s a sense that the lyrics are scaffolding, a framework to hang clockwork synths and piano riffs around. The technique works best on the hazy ‘Go Now’, with its pounding bass line and the steady pulse of drums, but at other times the spaces between notes expand too far. In these moments there is little to focus on with such sparse lyrics.
Although the band have tried to challenge their aesthetic on ‘Dreamless’, it’s the moments they return to form that work best. Branching out musically is a bold step that pays off in flashes, but the riff work in ‘Welcome to Hell’ and ‘Jailbird’’s brief guitar solo confirm that, at heart, Crocodiles are strongest with guitars in hand.
But while these 10 tracks might sound crisper and cleaner than before – there are even some tropical, funky vibes to be found in both Maximum Penetration and Welcome To Hell – Crocodiles remain as gloweringly gloomy as ever. I’m Sick is a vicious, snarling song full of longing and regret, Jumping On Angels – despite the upbeat piano leitmotif it’s built upon – is dark, ominous and sinister, and Jailbird descends into a moody swirl of psychedelic, creepy sound. While this doesn’t mark a new beginning for the band, it nevertheless represents a step down a different path that they’ll hopefully continue to follow.