Best New Albums of 2013! #8 – Crocodiles – Crimes of Passion

Running through the end of the month (with a short Christmas break), I’ll be running a post each weekday taking a look at one of my top 20 albums of the year, slowly working my way down to number one. Some I’ve reviewed previously for Bearded Gentlemen Music – I’ll provide links where necessary – and the entire list will eventually end up there, too. But for most of these records, this is the first time I’m writing about them at length, making this a chance to explain my choices in a little greater detail. Last year’s list is no longer online, but for 2011′s Best Canadian Music click here and for 2010′s list, click here.

#8: Crocodiles – Crimes of Passion (Frenchkiss)

I think it’s fair to say I’m a sucker for loud, trashy rock. Between Neil Young’s chaotic ventures with Crazy Horse to a Lou Reed/Bowie/Mott-indebted record by Kim Fowley, I’ve spent more than a little time this year covering enjoyable, loud and unpretentious rock.

And on one level, Crocodiles’ Crimes of Passion is the trashiest, glammiest rock of the year! Needless to say, I love it. From the horns and howling bursts of guitar right down to the sneering face on the cover, it sounds like a lost classic from the early 70s. Hard edged guitars, straight-ahead rock and, buried just under everything, sunny melodies. There’s only been a few records this year that were just as much a pure pleasure to listen to.

Part of that’s due to Sune Rose Wagner’s spacey production, which fits them like a glove. The layer of reverb adds a spooky, hard edge to their noise-pop. Sure, it’s the same trick Wagner uses to great effect with his band The Raveonettes. But even Sam Phillips used slapback, so it’s hardly a signature sound. To my ears, whenever a band plays loud and aggressively, adding some ambience can do wonders in adding texture to the noise; just look at METZ’s last record.

But enough about the sound. Once you get around to thinking about the dark, moody lyrics (“My girl lives with so much pain,” sings Brandon Welchez, “but she feels alright if I feel the same”) you’ll be set to appreciate this record all over again. It’s a brash recording, but one of the year’s best, too.




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