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The Warlocks – Surgery

The WarlocksSurgery
Birdman/Mute Recordings

It’s been a long and strange road for The Warlocks. Since forming in 1998, they have had a total of nineteen members. That’s almost enough people to form their own Polyphonic Spree. Even now, since the release of Phoenix, Bob Mustachio (a name so rad you’d think he made it up) has been added on drums and Jenny Fraser has taken over on bass.


With all the lineup changes you might think the music quality would suffer. With their latest album, Surgery, The Warlocks strive to make good music throughout the tribulations.

For those unfamiliar with The Warlocks’ sound, it is a dark, psychedelia infused rock. Front man Bobby Heck (guitar, vocals) is influenced by Sonic Youth and Adam and the Ants, which is prevalent in the songs of The Warlocks. Surgery sounds as if The Velvet Underground were shot into space. Two years ago, The Warlocks released the Phoenix album to some critical acclaim, breaking them into a larger audience. This album now takes The Warlocks into the realm of My Bloody Valentine and Spiritualized.

The album begins with the pounding “Come Save Us”, which is much like the rest of the songs, including loud guitar played by JC Rees, whose dirty sound bleeds over the rest of the instruments and catapults the power this creates The Warlocks’ wall of sound. “Gypsy Nightmare,” on the other hand, stands out from the rest of the songs due to it’s much cleaner sound. It still has the noise, but is much more focused on the dulcet guitar and softly sung vocals.

Many of the songs’ structures are focused on the slow build. It will start out simply while quietly adding more instruments and more sounds. A couple of minutes into the song you are surprised by the volume and intensity the song has attained as it approaches its climax.

As a fan of the Phoenix album, I believe that Surgery is The Warlocks’ best effort to date. Each track works with the next while still standing on its own. It finishes appropriately with the dark twelve minute “Suicide Note,” with the swirl of guitars and noise, combining the old and the new in such a way that makes The Warlocks stand out from other bands trying to capture a similar sound.


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