Crocodiles: Summer of Hate

New Wave pop glimmer, meet noisy, lo-fi reverb; you'll be working together closely on Summer of Hate, the debut from San Diego's Crocodiles. Intimately, one might say — there'll be times when the two of you are so intertwined that you'll find it tough to say where one ends and the other begins. Blink-and-miss-it intro "Screaming Chrome" sets the tone: droney keyboard gulped, then puked, then gulped again. Then "I Wanna Kill," in which singer Brandon Welchez speaks to the titular point in a bored, follow-the-bouncing-ball way, smothering a Ramones-esque hook in drumbeats and guitarist Charles Rowell's overtreated, effects-ruined riffs. On cinematic, strobe-light "Soft Skull (In My Room)," Hate strays into gnarled dance-rock territory, only for "Refuse Angels" to administer a nasty 200-volt punk taze, a trashy, coke-fueled jolt back to core principles. After that comes the on-the-prowl neon sleaze of "Flash of Light," "Sleeping with the Lord" and the title track, reflecting Spacemen 3's burnt-out but vainglorious cool. On the last of these, Welchez insists that he's "been chained to this town with its lipstick-smear frown / Seen so much death, it's dragging me down." Whether or not he's being honest, Hate's sonics do convey pathos, a we're-in-hell-but-it's-great downer vibe that marries accessibility and raw-power crud production more profitably than most of Crocodiles' contemporaries do.


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