Crimes of Passion
For the last four years, San Diegans Charles Rowell and Brandon Welchez have been making music as Crocodiles, achieving little more than cult status. Everyone knows someone who loves them, but they haven't quite found the mass adoration of the Dum Dum Girls, the band featuring Welchez's wife, Dee Dee. Their fourth album, Crimes of Passion, is their best bet to change all that. Produced by the Raveonettes' Sune Rose Wagner, Crocodiles sound revitalized, stepping up their game with songs that are immediately grabbing. Any one of the tracks sounds like it could be a single, from the gritty garage stomp of "Cockroach" to the riff-bending hooks of "Teardrop Guitar." Of course, their "life-affirming rock'n'roll" still suffers from Jesus & Mary Chain reverence, and Wagner, who's just as guilty of this with his music, only strengthens the argument. In fact, Wagner makes them sound more like the Raveonettes, at times, sugar-coating the melody on "She Splits Me Up" and plugging a female back-up singer into "Marquis De Sade" that might as well be Sharin Foo. But there are enough unexpected moments — a nice peppering of saxophone, the gospel choir on "I Like It In the Dark" and the velvety hum of closing ballad "Un Chant D'Amour — to distinguish this as the best album yet by these sunglasses-at-night-wearing rockers.
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