Apparently dull really is hip. It’s hard to question the hipness of a band born out of Brian Jonestown Massacre, but The Warlocks’ latest release, Heavy Deavy Skull Lover is about as exciting as cutting-room-floor excerpts of Saw 17. Of course, any knowledgeable consumer of music could foresee this before purchasing a full-length release with only 8 tracks.
What made The Warlocks arguably the most interesting of the incestuous PDX/San Francisco scene queens (Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Dandy Warhols, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club) was their melding of such extreme sounds, from Goth to Psychedelic to Shoegaze to Brit Pop and Punk. Well, all comparisons to The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Velvet Underground, and Sisters of Mercy can be forgotten, as the band has focused exclusively on the Spaceman-3-and-Dead-Meadow-inspired aspects of their sound. While the sprawling album comes to an end at just over 50 minutes, without the help of certain psychedelic chemicals, the experience of listening will have you feeling like you’re stranded in the desert with a half-asleep Thurston Moore. The album’s most painful track is certainly “Moving Mountains” which drones on seemingly without purpose for almost eleven minutes. While “So Paranoid” is reminiscent of some of the band’s more impressive ballads and “Zombie Like Lovers” wouldn’t be out of place in the group’s back catalogue or any indie dance party, these two tracks are far from enough to keep Heavy Deavy Skull Lover listenable for anyone aside from people who wear hemp jewelry and those who are willing to brave any circumstances, climate, or pretentious, nearly-instrumental bore released on Tee Pee Records to keep from smudging their scene credibility. — Izzy Cihak