The Warlocks

The Warlocks (Bomp! Records)

Crawling from the aural and psychic wreckage of the Brian Jonestown Massacre a couple of years ago, guitarist Bobby Hecksher (who has worked with Beck) blinked his eyes a few times, massaged his bruised limbs, and promptly dove back into the fray -- on his own terms this time. With his new project, the Warlocks, he aims to wreak his own singular brand of havoc through a white-light/white-heat brand of tribal psychedelia every bit as punishing as that purveyed by Hecksher's old employer. He also remains true to the sonic legacy implied by the chosen group moniker; both the Grateful Dead and the Velvet Underground dallied with the name Warlocks very early on.

A six-song mini-album clocking in at 40 minutes, The Warlocks hails from the same inspirational lava pool that gave the world Spacemen 3, Jesus and Mary Chain, Monster Magnet and, yes, the BJM. The band sculpts a mighty wall of sound, whether single-mindedly thrumming through a meaty, distorted slab of troglodytic crud ("Caveman Rock"), allowing rich textural nuances to seep through the pores of the monolith (like the strummy acoustics and trippy effects that infest "Cocaine Blues"), or lighting the rocket's fuse in preparation for an interstellar passage ("Jam of the Zombies," a live recording recalling the halcyon journeys of yore by the 13th Floor Elevators).

Significantly the record's lone overt homage is at once loving and obsessive: "Song for Nico" oozes with a darkly ominous, Velvets "Heroin"-like vibe even as its fuzz tone drone casts a deceptively tingly melodic glow. The Warlocks, it would seem, are both innovators and master conjurors. Dark magick is afoot.

A footnote to the foregoing: Nobody who was ever associated with the BJM does things half-assed, and that goes double for folks who join them in the Bomp! Recordsorbit, long a haven for musical misfits and unreconstructed garage punks. To that end a press release dated October 20, 2000, circulated, bearing the following info: "Greg Shaw [founder/owner of Bomp!] and Bobby Hecksher inked a two-CD recording contract today. Well, Shaw's signature was in ink, but for Bobby, the impulse to sign in blood was too strong to resist. According to the contract's fine print, there is also an option on Warlocks' bassist Jen Chiba's soul, and those of her unborn babies, but it may not be exercised unless the band fails to sell at least 500 records."

Gentle consumers, your mission is clear: Protect the womblife from Bomp!-style damnation and buy this album.

 
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