The Warlocks - Songs from the Pale Eclipse - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Warlocks - Songs from the Pale Eclipse

by Jim Harris Rating:9 Release Date:2016-09-02

The Warlocks have been around since 1998 and along with The Dandy Warhols, Brian Jonestown Massacre, and The Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, they started that late-90s droning, shoegazing psych west coast sound. And they keep doing it. I had the privilege of seeing the Warlocks open for the Dandy’s less than a year ago and there were 5 hollow-bodied Fendors fronting two drummers and one psychedelic drone after another filled a very small warehouse called the Ready Room. And then the Dandy’s came on the small, crammed stage and they loaded up their set not with their hipster cool quirky songs but primarily songs from their late 90s drone and psych period. It was a great concert.

Surprisingly, Songs from the Pale Eclipse, has the Warlocks in top form. This band has always been a droning, psych band in concert but occasionally on their albums they lean towards sounding like the Cure and with their gimmicky death and witchcraft lyrics and album covers it’s been easy to roll your eyes at their direction.

But this album hits the drone and psych marks consistently.

The opening track ‘Only You’ has a sort of early Dandy’s structure wrapped around a truly sinister refrain worthy of their band name. ‘Lonesome Bulldog’ continues in this musical vein and I was struck by just how refrained and less annoyingly whispery Bobby Hecksher’s voice is on this album.

Songs from the Pale Eclipse captures perhaps the sound the Warlocks have consistently needed. They are comfortable doing droning, shoegazing psych and they’ve never pulled it off so well. There is no pretense here that they are ever going to gain huge, massive audiences for their sound. And there is no trying to write U2 songs like BRMC appears to be trying to do lately.

But the Warlocks do what they do well in concert on this album and it would be a good thing if they stay at this. It’s one of the stronger albums out this year.

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