Album Review: Crocodiles’ Crimes of Passion


Crimes of Passion

Frenchkiss Records

Release Date: August 20, 2013

Track Listing

  1. I Like It In The Dark
  2. Marquis De Sade
  3. Cockroach
  4. Heavy Metal Clouds
  5. Teardrop Guitar
  6. She Splits Me Up
  7. Me And My Machine Gun
  8. Gimme Some Annihilation
  9. Virgin
  10. Un Chant D’Amour



Brandon Welchez

Charles Rowell

Crimes of Passion, released back in August by Brooklyn-based indie rock label, Frenchkiss Records is the follow-up to Endless Flowers, the critically praised effort by the San Diego, CA-based band Crocodiles. The band has developed a reputation for a dense, scuzzy and explosively loud, scuzzy sound along the lines of A Place to Bury Strangers, Bambara and others; however, lead singer Brandon Welchez enlisted the help of the Raveonettes’ Sune Rose Wagner to produce their latest effort. And with Wagner at the helm, the band has undergone a decided change of sonic direction – leaning heavily towards the densely layered psychedelica of the Stones Roses, the Jesus and the Mary Chain, Dark Side of the Moon-era Pink Floyd and the noir-ish, seductive sound of Wagner’s own Raveonettes, and it sounds like a natural, perfect fit. Employing the use of backup singers, organs and horns and industrial background noise, the material manages to possess some incredibly funky bass lines, and some gorgeous, chiming guitar, while retaining the band’s towering, scuzzy, murky, shambling squall.

    Lyrically, Welchez’s lyrics sung with a nasal snarl describe a scuzzy, sinful and excessive decadence – the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle of drugs, drinking, sex and more drugs, drinking and sex. Crimes of passion, indeed! The album is lyrically and sonically an organic whole where songs seem to comment and converse with each other, while pushing one particular vision. If songs were sequenced differently – say, album opener “I Like It In The Dark” was in the middle of the album – the album would convey a totally different mood. And if the songs were arranged in a totally different sequence, the album would feel largely incomplete. Album opener, “I Like It In The Dark” begins the decadent proceedings with a sly, sexual come with a forceful, buzzing guitar solo. It creates a picture of a shady, rogue character trying to charm you out of your pants. “Marquis de Sade” seems like a love song written to the infamously perverse historical and literary figure. As a song it wraps the album’s title around an incredibly catchy hook and one of the best bass lines I’ve heard in a rock song in a while. “Cockroach” sounds as though it could have been on a Raveonettes album or a Stone Roses album but with a swaggering, towering sense of menace. It brings back a sense of darkness that indie rock has forgotten and it reminds us why we should love rock – it encourages our darkest, basest, most primal instincts. (The song is also one of my favorite rock songs released this summer – because of its primal roar.) “Teardrop Guitar” continues that sense darkness with one of the most menacing lines on the entire album – listen to how Welchez sings “I want to see you cry,” at the song’s hook. It’s unsettling.

   But underpinning the muscular insistence and menace of the material is an uncanny sense of melody and some of the catchiest hooks you’ll hear from rock songs in quite some time. Material that’s written as well as the material on Crimes of Passion manages to leave a haunting, lingering presence that feels inescapable. After downloading the album, I played the album 3 times that day, and then later at a party where it turned heads. It’s simply and impressive album that forces itself upon you, demanding repeated listens until it burrows its way into your conscious, and towards your heart.