Crocodiles wrapped up their current tour with a show at the Music Hall of Willamsburg on the 23rd of November. Although the band formed in San Diego, they spend most of their time split between New York and London, so there was a hometown vibe in the air.
Openers Young Boys set the tone early with their goth/synth/punk combination, if I wasn’t paying attention I might have been convinced I was watching Red Lorry Yellow Lorry.
Wymond Miles, my Artist to Watch of the week, did not disappoint. His set had a good split between his two records, Under a Pale Moon and recent release, Cut Yourself Free. While the material from the former has a chilling acoustic sound, the songs are performed in full electric which makes for a good contrast. The only disappointment was that he didn’t play longer. The words underrated and under-appreciated get bandied about far too often but this man should be on all the best-of 2013 lists.
Crocodiles have stepped up at least a couple of levels with their new record, Crimes of Passion (via French Kiss Records), which has suddenly become one of my favourite releases of the year. It’s an assured, confident and impeccably produced 33 minute affair, which manages to trim the edges of their earlier lo-fi sound, but become more expansive at the same time.
They didn’t play album opener I Like it in the Dark, which is a shame because its anti-superstition message is a real cause for celebration, featuring a rousing chorus:
there’s no shining heaven, there are no fires of hell but those of our creation. When I’m crawling away from hell, storm the gates of heaven and be your own god
Whilst the band cherry-picked well from their back catalogue with the likes of Hearts of Love, Neon Jesus, Sleep Forever & Mirrors, the new songs really took centre stage. We got half the record over the course of the night, and selfishly, I’d have liked more, especially the aforementioned I Like it in the Dark and Virgin. Songs like Teardrop Guitar sound even more explosive live.
It was also the last show with bassist Marco Gonzalez in the band, who had just been accepted into medical school (maybe America will join the civilised world and have proper socialised medicine by the time he’s done…). A cake was brought out.
They ended the night with a cameo from Brandon’s wife, Dee Dee Penny of Dum Dum Girls, who provided vocals on I Wanna Kill.
It will be interesting to see what the future holds for Crocodiles – if they can continue the upward trajectory and follow up Crimes of Passion with something even better, then they could be onto something very special.
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