Krokodil Rock, the sophomore album from "Middle-of-Nowhere, Illinois" band Dripping Slits, finds them ready for the ultimate party- complete with booze, reptiles, and of course some straight-up rock and roll. The band picks up right from where their 2011 debut Short Skirts and Long Nights left off, only to get even more crazy and extreme- and more musically complex. Dripping Slits is defining their sound now- an awesome mash-up of bluesy riffs, abrupt transitions and tempo changes, and a feverish energy that never dies down.
"Bad Seed" opens up the album with a minute of an almost eerie acoustic intro- exploding into pounding, crashing drums and revved up guitars, complete with Derek Guldan's vocals that can entice with clear, smooth singing and then excite with gutteral screaming and howling. "Venom and Denim" is another song that is all over the spectrum, embodying the band's more metal/hardcore vibe, chock full of breakdowns, strong guitar solos, screaming back-up vocals, and great one-liners that serve to get the party started. "What do you know of the life of the low?" Guldan asks his target- a wise man, who "once said rock and roll is dead-well he hasn't seen what I've seen."
Dripping Slits sound similar to Every TIme I Die, but make their other influences clear on Krokodil Rock. "Turn Me On, Turn Me Loose" stands out for its references to greats like AC/DC and Steppenwolf. "I'm a problem child and was born to be wild," Guldan asserts, as the band delves into the solid party anthem demanding some whiskey and Johnny Thunders. The band cites Nirvana with "She Smells Like Teen Spirit" as they create the character of their ideal woman who is just as off the rails as them. With powerful riffs from bassist Tim Ramirez and a sweet solo from guitarist Thom Crawford that meshes so well with Craig Godar's relentless drums, the chorus "freight train keep rolling on" aptly describes Dripping Slits' abounding intensity.
Originally released Halloween 2013, Krokodil Rock shows that Dripping Slits have mastered their party-crashing attitude- giving less of a fuck now, enhancing their eccentricities, providing a specific plan for how they want the night to go, through descriptive imagery in their lyrics and a musical momentum that swiftly glides from one song to another, through all their various approaches and styles. There's a lot of references to reptiles throughout the whole album-particularly snakes- present on their previous record but now it's an evident element to the lifestyle and atmosphere the band so deliberately uses to creep on their audience and lure them to become its prey.
On album closer, "Snake Oil Blues," the seven-minute-long effort combines all of Dripping Slits' components to their formula- the smooth buildup of sound, the churning guitar and bass and pounding drums, the howling vocals- seemingly fueling the band's incessant energy. The song is a bit slower than the others but provides more depth of feeling- the hangover after the party. It describes the "Midwestern mud, the sense of feeling stuck" as the band calls for change: "shed the skin boys, start something new." The song culminates in sheer noise, as Guldan screams "I fucking hate your life," and the drums busily support the wailing guitars until it all fades away into static.
Krokodil Rock is a solid second album because it's not just a continuation of Dripping Slits' sound on their first record, it's more of a step in the band's evolution. They are building upon what makes them an unusual band-exploring new instruments, trying out a more smoothed-out sound without losing energy. The album is a raging celebration of rock and roll in its rawest, most cunning form.