Spin Dat Record with Kyle Buckner: Crocodiles – ‘Summer of Hate’

Any spandex-clad, acid wash jean jacket-wearing, neon sunglasses-sporting eighties throwback hipsters reading this week? If so, the album that I’m talking about, the Crocodiles’ “Summer of Hate,” is probably right up your alley.I’ve heard quite a bit of buzz about these San Francisco noise-poppers for a couple of weeks now, so I did my research on what artists could have potentially influenced their tunes. I kept seeing comparisons to bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain, Echo and the Bunnymen (Whose album “Crocodiles” probably inspired the name of this band), New Order, and other bands that I really dig from the eighties, so I decided to purchase this album.

The first full-length song on the album, “I Wanna Kill,” sounded like a pretty catchy tune at first. Good eighties-style drum beat, muffled vocals, screeching guitars and thumping bass. I gave it a listen and I was feeling it pretty good. One thing bothered me though: it sounded a little bit too much like all of the bands that I had seen listed as their influences. Now, I usually give artists a good deal of slack when it comes to potential rip-offs, considering everything has been done before in one shape or form, but the song sounds like it was blatantly imitating the Jesus and Mary Chain. A little too much, guys.

I didn’t give up on it yet, however.mostly because I paid money for it on iTunes. The next song “Soft Skull (In My Room)” sounded like it was going to be a good song.until the vocals came in. “Any of you ever get into The Faint?” Yeah. There you go. I guess these guys liked them, too. They try really hard to sound dark, ominous, and mature, but they just end up sounding like a group of whiny high school kids.

Next came “Here Comes the Sky,” which actually is a pretty good song. Soft vocals, guitars dripping with reverb, some tambourine for percussion’s sake and a piano holding it down. I quickly knew that this song would most likely come to be my favorite song from the album. I have nothing bad to say about this one. A really well orchestrated song’s not too overbearing.

“Refuse Angels” was next on the track list. This one is the Crocodiles’ anthem to all of the kids sitting outside of the club chain-smoking cigarettes and clutching mostly full cups of cold coffee(for aesthetic effect, of course.) The thump-thump of bass and drums almost beckons them to channel their teenage angst and attack the dance floor with all their neglected, emotional might–a really immature song, mostly.

The next bleeding-heart anthem was the title track, “Summer of Hate.” The first minute-and-a-half of this song is annoying noise, and some of the first lyrics that I heard were “I’m praying that you’ll come and scratch out my eyes, then you’ll know that these tears can’t disguise.” I was done with the song after hearing that. Lame.

The last song, “Young Drugs,” is a pretty good song. While it’s still pretty much a rip-off, it has a cool drumbeat, some good guitar work, dreamy synthesizer lines, and the lyrics aren’t as dumb as the previous song. At least they ended this disappointing album with a decent song.

Overall, I’d say I wasted my money on this album. If you like bands that try to sound like other bands you like, then maybe this band is for you. However, I say “shame on you, Crocodiles.