Album Review: Crocodiles - Crimes of Passion

When I was younger, I decided to read some of this Marquis de Sade fellow I kept hearing about. I ended up tackling his tale entitled The Misfortunes of Virtue, which, perhaps quite obviously, chronicles the downfall of a virtuous young lady. Essentially, said lady endures unspeakable atrocities, yet keeps firmly to her mentality of the high road. The Marquis, cheeky bugger that he was, drags the heroine through mountains of mud with glee, highlighting at every turn the pitfalls of being good. My takeaway was de Sade's praise of all things decadent, debaucherous, and just plain bad. You might say that when it came to the Marquis de Sade, being bad felt pretty good indeed. 

It's my belief that, should their paths have crossed on this mortal coil, the Marquis would most definitely have approved of Crocodiles, and been quite a fan of their latest full-length Crimes of Passion. After all, there's enough decadence, angst, and sacrilege to sate even the pickiest de Sade accolyte. When it comes to Crocodiles, being bad sounds pretty good indeed. 

Sticking with their blueprint of Jesus & Mary Chain inspired noisiness, the Crocodiles gang shakes, shimmies, and occasionally blasphemes their way through ten killer songs. Opening track "I Like It in The Dark" kicks up the dust of Madchester, complete with gospel quality vocal accompaniments and a more than kicky beat. De Sade would be mad for his titular jam, "Marquis De Sade," with such lyrics as "I know you're not mine/but I'll be yours tonight," and that girl group meets the gutter grit of the instrumentation.

There's plenty more to love where those came from, from the dizzy beat of "Cockroach" ("Maybe I was sleepin/but I'm certainly not dumb") to the frantic fuzz of "Teardrop Guitar" ("When life is all turned inside out/all I've got's my teardrop guitar/I wanna see you cry") to the "You Trip Me Up" ode "She Splits Me Up" ("Her graveyard eyes they lured me in"). There's a joyous abandon to the sacrilege in "Gimme Some Annihilation," and a punchy beat to go along with it. 

My favorite song, at this very moment, is "Virgin," another scuzzed out ditty tackling the concept of being, a virgin again ("I'd put a locket on my lust and bury it beneath the dust"). It's a fairly interesting notion wrapped up in a ferociously frothy package. Closing song "Un Chant D'Amour" strikes a chord, the tranquil, heartbreaking prettiness in direct contrast with the unabashed aggression of the majority of the prior nine songs. The theme of disintegrating love is quite unexpectedly powerful. 

All told, Crimes of Passion is more than likely my favorite Crocodiles lp to date. It's a naughty thing indeed, and probably best enjoyed by those of us with a little bit of a bad streak. Of course, the good guys might just find themselves enamored of the dark side by the time they've had a listen.

mp3: Heavy Metal Clouds (Crocodiles from Crimes of Passion)       


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