The Warlocks - "Phoenix EP"
(Birdman Records 2002, BMR 040)
From Aural Innovations #21 (October 2002)
The Warlocks web site indicates that the full Phoenix CD is out now, but that hasn't made its way to our offices yet so we'll give you the shape of sounds to come with a look at the Phoenix EP released earlier this year (which is really as long as a full length CD). The Warlocks are a multi-guitar psychedelic space assault that would appeal to fans of Hawkwind, the Velvet Underground, early Pink Floyd, Krautrock and a slew of modern psychedelic bands. Led by guitarist/bassist/lead vocalist and chief songwriter Bobby Hecksher, the band are equally comfortable with accessible songs and cosmic space excursions.
"Baby Blue" opens the set and is a bouncy pop-psych tune with an Eastern flavor. There's a radio friendly quality to the music but it's mucho psychedelic. "Stone Hearts" is an intense rocker that draws on the bands Velvet Underground influences. The song has a drugged feel but the full sound of the bands guitar army gives a pounding acid rock potency to the music that would keep even the most dosed listener wide eyed and smiling blissfully. This is really intense stuff.
"Oh Sandy" features an epic glom of multiple freaky looped guitars, tripped out licks, and phase shifting textures and drones. The volume and intensity builds slowly and the whole thing is a beautifully cosmic cauldron of psychedelic guitar ecstasy. It's not a song... it's not even a journey... just a good fun 12 minutes of layered psychedelic guitars and efx that create an acid mantra for the mind. "Minneapolis Mad Man" is a similar acid freakout track, though it has more "musical" elements scattered collage style throughout. A killer mish-mash of jamming hard rock, psych guitar madness and gurgling space electronics. There's also a 35 minute untitled track that begins with a spacey intro, followed by a minute or so of silence, then a very cool Syd-era Floydish song. And after some more silence we're treated to a lengthy quirky pulsating rocker that sounds like a long lost Neu! track. Delicious!
In summary, Space Rock fans and lovers of all things psychedelically exploratory have got to check out the Warlocks' tripped out brand of Hawkwind meets the Velvet Underground space assault. Like a Space Ritual for the 21st Century. Recommended.
For more information you can visit The Warlocks web site at: http://www.thewarlocks.com.
CLICK HERE to read the Action Man's account of a Warlocks show, also appearing in this issue.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz