With a fifth studio album in seven years, Crocodiles are certainly not resting on their laurels. Produced by Martin Thulin (Los Fancy Free, ?Secret Mexican Band) and recorded in Mexico City, Boys comes less than two years after 2013's Crimes of Passion and showcases once again Charles Rowell and Brandon Welchez's appealing mix of noise pop, light psychedelic haze and swaggering riffs. Unfortunately, the downside of the duo's productivity is that their songwriting can get stretched a little thin — while there is plenty of ear candy in the album's careful arrangements, the memorable hooks that abounded on Crimes of Passion come at a premium on Boys.
When Rowell and Welchez hit the mark, the results are very, very good. "The Boy Is A Tramp" — arguably the album's strongest moment — is a dreamy blend of scuzzy Jesus and Mary Chain-style indie pop and late-1960s vintage keyboard sounds, while "Hard" shows the pair to be well-above-average writers of crisp, catchy glam pop. On the lush "Blue," a hypnotic riff and thick fog of reverb add an unsettling aura of menace to the song's narcotic shoegaze.
Despite those high points and some smart sonic touches on other songs (a salsa beat on "Kool TV," a skronky middle-eight on "Transylvania"), much of the rest of Boys fades too easily in the background. Sure, it's got a nice beat and you can often dance to it, but Crocodiles have shown in the past that they are capable of much more. (Zoo Music)
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