The swirling, distorted garage-psych sound of the Los Angeles-based Warlocks is what one might expect from a band named for early incarnations of both the Velvet Underground and the Grateful Dead. The Warlocks meld the ’50s worship practiced by the VU in songs like the Lou Reed classic “Pale Blue Eyes,” and the psychedelia of the Dead’s “Dark Star,” seamlessly woven together.
That ’50s girl group sound mimicked by the Warlocks is best realized on songs like “Angels in Heaven, Angels in Hell,” from the band’s fourth album, Surgery. It’s an appropriate name from the kind of doo-wop sung by Warlocks frontman Bobby Hecksher: His breathy and faintly spooky voice sounds like Ronnie Spector meeting the devil. The Warlocks produce sounds with much more lushness than anything from producer Phil Spector’s famed Wall of Sound, largely because of the sheer number of instruments in each arrangement. The Warlocks’ sound is created with three guitars, a bass, two drum kits, an organ, and the aid of a trusty tambourine.
The Warlocks’ creepy old school garage style reaches a fever pitch on the twelve-minute opus “Suicide Note,” which enhances its funereal sound with an organ-driven background to Hecksher’s semi-disturbing croon. If you want to see the Warlocks epic songs performed live, you’ll have to wait a while: the band has just a single performance scheduled in the near future: October 28 in San Francisco at the Independent. Warlocks devotees will have to make due with some minor Surgery, out August 23 on Mute Records.
Link: Warlocks official site