Release Date: Nov 26, 2013
Record label: Cargo
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Neo-Psychedelia
Very little changes in the world of the Warlocks...four years have passed since The Mirror Explodes, three musicians have left the group, three have joined in their place, and despite it all this band is still drifting down an endless twilight road of beautiful but troubling sounds. Key Warlock Bobby Hecksher continues to fashion an aural netherworld where clouds of fuzz and distortion float overhead as the slow but relentless pulse of bass and drums echoes in the distance. Ultimately, the Warlocks only do one thing, but they've learned to do it quite well (or rather Hecksher does it quite well and knows where to get the assistance he needs), and 2013's Skull Worship confirms his obsessions have not changed one bit with time.
As former associates of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, LA quintet The Warlocks can almost lay claim to a similar number of line-up changes throughout their fifteen-year existence. While bandleader Bobby Hecksher and long term songwriting partner JC Rees remain, there's a changed look about The Warlocks version 2k13 from the one that last appeared with 2009's The Mirror Explodes. Despite the shifts in personnel, the band's sound hasn't really differentiated that much from where it set out on 2001's Rise And Fall.
Warlocks frontman Bobby Hecksher is the band’s only constant in a stop-start 15 years, but he parks his own ego on this, submerging his voice beneath fuzzed-up guitars played by an ever-changing cast of associates. The LA psych-rockers’ first album in almost five years follows a familiar template, each song a rotting-carcass drag through swampy noise, sticky and oozing, with only the eerie motorik boogie of ‘Dead Generation’ and the trippy backwards synth washes of ‘Eye Jam’ bringing some still pretty gloomy light. In between, it’s a wade through thick sonic sludge, but the oncoming doom of ‘Endless Drops’ is bleakly tuneful and ‘He Looks Good In Space’ is soothing – if sleazy drone lullabies are your thing.
It’s been five long years since the last spell cast by the Warlocks. But bandleader Bobby Hecksher and his latest set of cohorts break the silence with Skull Worship, allegedly the final part of a trilogy started with Heavy Deavy Skull Lover and peaked with The Mirror Explodes. Though Hecksher’s melodic sense – a combination of floating melody and acid-drenched drone – remains intact, he’s tempered the band’s usual aggression with a more measured pace.
The Warlocks Skull Worship (Cargo/Zap Banana) Light-year markers denote Skull Worship as the Warlocks' sixth planet from their burning star, yet the L.A. quintet's mass density emits a far greater gravitational pull. Atop psych-fried radioactivity cut through with acidic leads, Bobby Hecksher's syrupy, British invasion vox demands instant deification on opener "Dead Generation." Organ oxidation meets a hydrogen flare of guitar and tribal unrest in the rhythm section on "Endless Drops," but an unseen fuel dump halfway through the LP means a serious loss of power, and the crew gets whiny ("Silver & Plastic").