JOVM mainstay artists Crocodiles, comprised of primary members and best friends Brandon Welchez and Charles Rowell have an established reputation for scuzzy, swaggering, garage rock with a decidedly pop leaning sensibility throughout the course their five previously released and critically praised full-length albums. However, the band’s latest effort Dreamless found Welchez and Rowell going through a decided change in sonic direction and songwriting approach. The album’s first single “Telepathic Lover,” possesses a stripped down and atmospheric feel, as the band moved more towards piano and synth being primary instrumentation with guitars and pedal effects moved to the background, giving the material a spectral and uneasy feel — and yet, they managed to retain their shuffling pop sensibility and swaggering badassery.
“We’ve always been a guitar band and I think we just wanted to challenge ourselves and our aesthetic,” Crocodiles’ Brandon Welchez explained 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.” And much like its its predecessor, Boys, the band’s latest effort was recorded in the band’s adopted hometown Mexico City and was recorded and produced with friend, occasional bandmate and producer Martin Thulin, who’s also known for collaborating with Anika in her new project Exploded View. As the story goes, during the recording recording sessions Welchez, Rowell and Thulin shared instrumental duties with Welchez and Rowell handling most of the guitar and bass work, Thulin handling piano and synths and Thulin and Welchez splitting the live drum work.
Thematically speaking, the material on the album may arguably be the duo’s most personal, most bitter and fucked up work they’ve released to date — with the album’s title managing to work on both a deeply literal and metaphorical level. As the band’s primary lyricist explained in press notes ““I suffered insomnia throughout the whole session. I was literally dreamless. 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.” Dreamless’ latest single “Not Even In Your Dreams” is a jangling bubblegum pop-leaning bit of indie rock in which twinkling piano chords, strummed guitar and a propulsive rhythm section are paired with Welchez’s ironic, deadpan vocals singing lyrics describing the frayed nerves and boredom of the insomniac, whose inability to sleep will further fuel his inability to sleep, leaving his narrator with his running self-flaggelating thoughts of how his life and his career have been a momentous and laughable failure. And in some way it captures both the ghosts the linger in your life and the endless battle against your own crushing self-doubts.
The recently released music video will further cement the band’s reputation for pairing their sound with decidedly lo-fi, grainy videos, and in this case the video is comprised of brief footage of the band performing and goofing off both before and after shows and old movies — and despite its purposely shitty quality, it’s a revealing look into the band, their individual personalities and in a small way, the life of an indie musician.