Kindred spirits: The Jesus and Mary Chain, Dum Dum Girls
Show: With Punks on Mars on Saturday at the Black Cat. Doors open at 9 p.m. 202-667-4490. www.blackcatdc.com. $15.
“Bubblegum Trash,” the eighth track on the Crocodiles’ new album, “Endless Flowers,” actually serves as a decent descriptor of the California band’s sound. Not trash in the disposable sense, but in the gritty, scuzzy one.
At their best, Crocodiles feature loud, distorted guitars that squawk and shimmer. But just below the noisy surface are air-tight power-pop songs with bubblegum hooks.
“Endless Flowers” finds the band at its most focused and concise. This collection of breezy songs is much stronger melodically and more affecting than the group’s previous efforts.
Even when the tracks stretch their legs past the five-minute mark, as they do on “My Surfing Lucifer” and “Dark Alleys,” the musicianship and pop craftsmanship keep things lively and engaging.
Crocodiles veer from this formula only once, about halfway through the album, with the droning “Hung Up on a Flower.” The song’s sparse arrangements and psychedelic freak-out of an ending only trip things up rather than say anything especially interesting.
But to offer a slight twist to the catchy hook of “Bubblegum Trash,” when the band pens a melody so sticky sweet that it could rot your teeth, it’s hard to resist.
— Brandon Weigel