San Diego, San Jose, San Fran; they’re all renowned for that same sunny Cali sound. Heck, these West coast hipsters even brought us the third wave ska movement, dontchaknow. Some thirty years on from this though, are they all still harbouring that lauded surf sound over there or are we simply California dreaming?

Crocodiles are one such West coast entity – comprising of frontman and agitated strut, Brandon Welchez and guitarist and reverb squall, Charles Rowell. The duo have existed in various incarnations since 2008, [even boasting members of The Slits and Black Dog within their line up] evolving from the original core to the five piece ensemble we see today.

Former single, ‘Mirrors’ from the bands second LP, Sleep Forever is a reverb soaked slice of psych as Welchez languidly toys with the idea of death and skipping town ‘when the peasants with their pitchforks come’. Yet, while Rowell is feverishly cutting out visceral screeches and furious distorted buzz and Welchez takes to the mic with the plucky zeal of a 60s front man, the others on stage fail to rouse a smile. At times, the bass player looks a bit demonic… is that ‘zoning out to the music’ or arrogant nonchalance? Either way, it’s hard to look past his stony glare at the front of Rough Trades
petit in-store stage.

 

New album title track, ‘Endless Flowers’ sees the band thrash out the set to a heady close with no mention of the release or indeed, the heritage behind their show this evening [Rough Trade were, in fact, responsible for cutting the band’s first full LP] Yet, for Crocodile’s faithful crowd, banter doesn’t seem to be what this lot are here for as the claps ring out, awash with gratitude and awe. For someone looking for the brain throbbing brilliance of this set [insert hyperlink: http://www.nme.com/reviews/crocodiles/10751 ] however, tonight Crocodiles’ performance all seemed a little too hazy.