Over the course of this site’s history, JOVM mainstay artists Crocodiles, comprised of primary members and best friends Brandon Welchez and Charles Rowell have an established reputation for scuzzy, swaggering, garage and psych rock with decidedly pop leaning hooks through their five previously released and critically praised full-length albums. However, with the band’s forthcoming, sixth effort Dreamless, the primary duo of Welchez and Rowell have gone through a decided sonic departure as you’d hear on the album’s haunting and bittersweet first single “Telepathic Lover,” as the band has stripped down their sound, moving guitars and pedal effects to the background while piano and synths have moved to the forefront, making their sound much more atmospheric, while retaining a jangling and shuffling pop feel.
“We’ve always been a guitar band and I think we just wanted to challenge ourselves and our aesthetic,” Crocodiles’ Brandon Welchez explains in press notes. “It didn’t start as a conscious decision but within the first week Charlie’s mantra became ‘fuck guitars.’ Only one song has zero guitar but in general we tried to find alternatives to fill that space.” Much like its predecessor, Boys, Dreamless was recorded in the band’s new adopted hometown of Mexico City and was recorded and produced with friend, occasional bandmate and producer Martin Thulin, who collaborates with Anika in her new, side project Exploded View. During the recording sessions, each member of the collaborative trio shared instrumental duties, with Welchez and Rowell handling most of the guitar and bass work, Thulin handling piano and synths while Thulin and Welchez split the live drum work.
Interestingly, the album’s title manages to work on both a literal and metaphorical level. “I suffered insomnia throughout the whole session. I was literally dreamless,” Welchez explained in press notes. “The past two years had been fraught with difficulty for us – relationship troubles, career woes, financial catastrophe, health issues. In that pessimistic mindset it was easy to feel as if the dream was over.” The album’s second and latest single “Not Even In Your Dreams” is a jangling and noisy track in which seemingly discordant piano chords are paired with what sounds like melodica playing a twisting and turning melody, strummed acoustic guitar, a propulsive backbeat and Welchez’s ironic, deadpan snarl, all which evokes the frayed nerves and sanity, as well as the utter boredom of the insomniac, who knows that every single time they try to lie down that sleep will be elusive. The only thing the narrator has is yet another joint and or cigarette to smoke, his running thoughts about how everything in his life has been a tremendous failure — and as a result it gives the song the sense of bitter realizations and self-flagellation.