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First Listen: Crocodiles, 'Crimes Of Passion'

NPR icon by Amy Schriefer

Crocodiles' members understand the pleasure of rock music.

Crimes of Passion, out August 20, is the fourth album from the California noise-pop band, and it continues an impressive streak of hazy, druggy, bittersweet songs. In Crocodiles' sexy, sardonic music, feelings of sadness and alienation are conveyed with a beautiful and life-affirming wall of noise. "Un Chant D'Amour," for example, is a heartbreak of a track referencing the 1950 movie by Jean Genet which subverted tragedy with the triumph of desire; it's an appropriate companion piece to the swirling, manipulative melodies employed by Crocodiles. Produced by Sune Rose Wagner of The Raveonettes, along with core band members Brandon Welchez and Charles Rowell, Crimes of Passion is tighter and less sprawling than 2011's Endless Flowers, but no less lovely.

Crocodiles' music also triggers the pleasure of nostalgia: There's my dad's Tommy James & The Shondells record, the mixtape I got that one time with all the Jesus and Mary Chain songs, and the sunglasses I coveted on the cover of Lou Reed's Street Hassle. The sonic references are so definitive, they may not leave much room for innovation or growth. But when the final product sounds like Crimes of Passion, it's tough to complain.

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