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The Warlocks - Surgery CD (album) cover


The Warlocks


Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.00 | 1 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars The drugs don't work

Following their 2002 album "Phoenix", the Warlocks underwent further complex line up changes, seriously delaying recording of their third album. While the lead guitar might of the band reduced slightly with the departure of Jeff Levitz, the number of members increased to seven through the appointment of a full time bassist and the re-establishing of a twin drums powerhouse.

If the first two albums had been inspired, both lyrically and physically by drug related themes, "Surgery" represents the results of those indulgences and the start of the rehabilitation. The lyrical themes here are starkly depressing, emphasising in no uncertain terms the inevitable consequences of substance abuse.

While the themes may be different, this does not signal a radical change in the sound, the album once again being founded on heavy repeating riffs and drones. The opening "Come save us" is a pulsating guitar driven retro number with slightly distorted vocals and a wonderful bass line. The "Come save us from ourselves" refrain perhaps indicates the swift infusion of a level of maturity in the band's collective attitude, the music having a notably more refined air to it.

"It's just like surgery" continues in an almost identical tone, the music being much closer to indie pop than any form of prog, indeed the work of Oasis comes to mind rather too readily. "Gypsy Nightmare" is if anything even more pop orientated, the light vocals being highly pleasant if somewhat familiar. Nice song though, especially the Neil Young like guitar solo to close. "Angels in heaven, angels in hell" is closer the the Spiritualized sound of the previous "Phoenix" album, while "We Need Starpower" is a less interesting plodder saved by some good heavy lead guitar licks.

"Thursday's radiation", the first of two longer tracks on the album is based around a post rock style strummed drone lead guitar. The track is more ambitious than most here, the ever building guitar orchestra getting decidedly out of hand! "Evil eyes again" is the shortest track on the album, this repetitive heavy pop song being largely forgettable. "The Tangent" boasts a delightful melody; the song sounds like a cross between a 60's US tragi- pop number and something by The Verve.

Laura Grisby's pleasing organ sound which opens "Above Earth" distinguishes the track from its peers here, this slow, moody song once again echoing the work of Spiritualized/Spaceman 3. "Bleed Without You Babe" is just a bit too miserable, the whiney vocals being too upfront in the mix to be avoidable. The album closes with "Suicide Note", the longest track here by far, at over 12 minutes. Lyrically very dark, the song is a cacophony of lead guitar dirges, emotional vocals, and pots and pans drumming. The main song actually ends after around 7 minutes, the remainder of the track being occupied by a hidden unrelated addition.

Overall, "Surgery" represents the Warlocks' best album thus far. While suffering at times from being a bit too samey, there is some very enjoyable material here, musically if not lyrically. By this time, the band have largely foregone any prog leaning they may have had in favour of a more commercial sound and style. Do not therefore come here looking for anything particularity challenging or original. Approach instead in the expectation of hearing some fine music.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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