Crocodile — Howling Mad Black Music under Hot Stars
(Basement Avatar Records no#, 2019, CD / DL)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2020-04-01
Austin prog band Crocodile realeased their second album on October 1, 2019. The album title Howling Mad Black Music under Hot Stars (HMBMUHS) and the artwork echo the 70s, but not the music itself. Drawing upon influences from Gentle Giant, Rush, ELO, Yes, The Smiths, and Steely Dan, Crocodile have produced a set of seven neo-prog love songs, of sorts. Personally, I don’t think this album is as strong as their debut, perhaps because I could never appreciate Steely Dan, and on HMBMUHS there is a lot of Steely Dan’s jazzy influence. So I was a bit disappointed on listening to the new album. The album does open strong with “(Arrival) Small Eden,” a European sounding dark prog track with Hammond organ and notes of King Crimson. Next is “I Was Dreaming,” a sophisticated 80s prog jazz fusion song. Then I was initially put off by “Dark Inverted Jubilee.” But I found that it grew on me over time. “Lovesick Wanderer” is funky strutting music with a cool riff, but it did not excite me. Then I found “Shed My Skin” to be a novel approach of blending prog with a dash of rockabilly. “The Genie (in Full Flower)” is a tightly arranged raucous track that will take some time and a lot of attention to get into. And the album closes with the melodic prog tune “Avis Ender.” Though not for me, HMBMUHS will most likely appeal to our readers.
Related artist(s): Crocodile
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more