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The Warlocks - Heavy Deavy Skull Lover CD (album) cover


The Warlocks


Psychedelic/Space Rock

2.50 | 3 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Fuzzy wuzzy sounds puzzler

Having moved in an increasingly commercial direction since their inception only to find themselves without a record label, band leader Bobby Hecksher took radical action. The line up was pared back to a quartet, devoid of the multiple lead guitars which were a feature of previous releases (strangely though the twin drums remain) and a new record label was found. Most significantly though, the search for a hit single was abandoned, with the Warlocks returning to the jam based style of their début album.

The opening "The Valley of Death" is distorted to the point of sounding faulty, but it seems both drummers arrived late for the session, neither being present on the track at all. The light picked acoustic guitar which accompanies a soft vocal gradually disappears in confusion of fuzz and feedback. At around 11 minutes, "Moving Mountains" is the longest track this time around. As with the opening track, the mix sounds decidedly suspect, the drums being too prominent in this monstrous dirge. The song is certainly far removed from the pop rock of "Surgery", but the fuzz and distortion are overplayed. Thankfully, a clean sound finally emerges later in the track, which redevelops as a post rock style builder.

"So Paranoid" leans towards Radiohead a bit (but without the Android!), the chiming lead guitar and understated vocal sitting rather well together. "Slip Beneath" retains the post rock dirge effect, with indecipherable vocals pushed back by melodic lead guitar phrases. I cannot help but feel that even here though, had the mix been cleaner, it would have sounded so much better.

The most noticeable thing about "Zombie Like Lovers" is the ridiculously off-beat rhythm, followed closely by the poor vocal. It is all a bit of a mess really. "Dreamless Days" is probably the most orthodox track on the album, the Radiohead style mood of the song being reasonably atmospheric. Quite what the band were thinking when they decided to reverse the entire "Interlude" to become "Interlude in Reverse" we can only speculate on. This though is an entire track recorded backwards; it must have seemed like a good idea at the time, but the reality is it is dreadful! The album closes with "Death, I Hear You Walking", a loosely structured soft number with a concealed melody.

While we have to admire The Warlocks for their willingness to explore more challenging areas, by and large this album simply does not work. The high energy jams of the early days and the melodic pop of more recent albums are both absent. In their place we have songs which sound like they have not been recorded properly, and which lack anything interesting. Pass this one by.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |


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