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Surgery

3.9 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 23, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Recorded in a series of Los Angeles studios from January 2004 with legendary producer Tom Rothrock (Beck, Elliott Smith, Coldplay), The Warlocks' new album Surgery is both more accessible and more vulnerable than their acclaimed album from 2003, Phoenix. An otherworldly, subversive soul record, it has a ghostly grace which mixes soothing sci-fi lullabies with their trademark characteristic rohypnol rock-outs. Mute. 2005.

Amazon.com

One of the few bands to give neo-psychedelia a good name, this Los Angeles-based band, have lifted the veil a little on their fuzzed-out Jesus and Mary Chain drones that colored their earlier two albums, cutting down some of the excessive white noise and equally excessive track lengths in an effort to be--dare we say--a little more accessible to the casual fan. But perhaps that careful editing of the Warlock's confused and messy muse had everything do with the fact that the band employed Tim Rothrock (Beck, Badly Drawn Boy) to man the boards on their third offering--and to his extreme credit, Rothrock has been able to streamline the Warlock's rare and idiosyncratic genius. Their odd occult hybrid of the Walkman, the Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth and the Shangri-La's produces brainy esoteric and unapologetic music that forces fans to wade through psychic lethargy, ennui, and abject depression--to get to the other side. But in that distant musical shore lays true enlightenment. Singer Bobby Hecksher doesn't shy away from telling the truth, whether it be his former druggy past, ("Come Save Us" "Bleed Without You Babe,") or the aftermath of crippling heartbreak ("Like Surgery"), or even living without hope ("Suicide Note"). But whatever the malaise, the Warlocks have prevailed with their strange, rude magic, continuing to cast a spell on listeners. -- Jaan Uhelszki
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 23, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Mute (Artist Intelligence)
  • ASIN: B000A2H7EK
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #344,854 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By George Dionne VINE VOICE on September 20, 2005
Format: Audio CD
The Good

A haunting, repetitive guitar riff leads you through "Come Save Us". As soon a Bobby Hecksher comes in with his vocals and cryptic lyrical content, you realize that he must have listened to The Cure a lot growing up. "It's Just Like Surgery" describes how a painful relationship can be both beneficial and painful. The driving rhythms only enhance the experience. "Angels in Heaven, Angles in Hell" comes off as a creepy love song from the fifties with it' dark tones and echoed vocals. It's about withdrawing from the real world and creating your own.

In a roundabout way, Hecksher is saying he needs to wish upon a star to escape from his current situation on "We Need Starpower". That may sound positive, but you can hear the pain and anguish is his voice. The Warlocks take an interesting look on a panic attack with "Evil Eyes Again". It either that, or facing death. Speaking of death, "Suicide Note" sums up the reasons that life's not worth living for our tortured soul. Interesting guitar tones and sounds, mixed with other progressive elements help set the mood.

The Bad

Nothing notable

The Verdict

Surgery is a sad, haunting trip into a tortured and depressed mind that would make Robert Smith of The Cure proud.
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Format: Audio CD
"Surgery" is The Warlocks' line drawn in the sand.

On the other side are the 12-minute jams, sprawling acoustic psych freakouts ('House of Glass' from "Rise and Fall" as a prime example) and lo-fidelity sound quality that recalled both the sleazy English 80s (Spacemen 3 et al) and the late 60s Northwest garage rock scene.

On this side are shorter bursts of muscular and decisively riff-laden shards, and a noticeable improvement in sound quality.

Few bands could pull off such a staggering transformation, and Warlocks are one of them.

Where Warlocks sounded like true 60s revivalists on "Rise and Fall" and "Phoenix" they now sound like modern bands that cite the 60s as an influence but sound more like the 80s underground, i.e. Brian Jonestown Massacre, Dandy Warhols, BRMC.

The ultra-catchy 'Just Like Surgery' steals a page from the Jesus and Mary Chain's playbook but substitutes the howling feedback with mid-fretboard power chords and an infectious lead riff. This song alone is worth the price of admission.

Producer Tom Rothrock did some tinkering and brought lead 'Lock Bobby Hecksher's pop songwriting instincts to the fore, and to fairly astounding effect.

'Gypsy Nightmare' carries some atmospheric background guitar lines behind the din and 'Angels in Heaven...' is akin to a doo-wop send-up or prom night slow dance that lifts some notes from Modest Mouse's 'Sleepwalkin.'

'Thursday's Radiation' harkens back to the sprawling/shimmering dirges of previous albums and will satiate long-time fans while providing newbies a taste of what they've missed.
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Format: Audio CD
The Warlocks' "Surgery" may not be the most accessible album in the world, but for what it is it's pretty good stuff. It's essentially lo-fi-ish indie rock with hard-edged guitars. Singer Bobby Hecksher is pretty likable most of the time, though on occasion he's a little questionable (see "The Tangent"). I think The Warlocks certainly have their own sound, but I would argue that it's not different or great enough to merit mass media attention. It's pretty derivative stuff with a couple relatively new ideas (see "Above Earth", especially). The production is pretty well done here. The lyrics tend to be hard to make out, but they're relatively interesting when you can hear them (they at least enhance the sound of the songs). Another good thing here is that every song on here is "good", though not necessarily hitworthy. Overall I think that hard-edged indie rock and The Warlocks fans will really like this, but I couldn't call it classic. It comes pretty darn close, though. It's still, however, highly recommended!

Highlights include:
the entire album!
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Format: Audio CD
I remember all the psycho-gothic drone bands of the 80's and 90's. I've got plenty of Spacemen 3, Love & rockets and Jesus and Mary Chain albums, etc. etc. I also can dig BJM and BRMC. I don't let it bother me that the Warlocks share black eyeliner with these bands. If you look around at all the reviews of this album, you may encounter alot of negative stuff about the Warlocks. Let it go. They are worth the price of admission. They trace a musical pedigree back past Velvet Underground and aren't afraid to do space doo-wop. There previous albums have sharper highs and more dangerous lows, but this album is grandiloquent. I've had it since the day it came out and I'm still listening to it every few days and I have a lot of CDs to chose from. Do yourself a favor if you like any of the bands I mentioned above. Get this one.
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Format: Audio CD
The Good

A haunting, repetitive guitar riff leads you through "Come Save Us". As soon a Bobby Hecksher comes in with his vocals and cryptic lyrical content, you realize that he must have listened to The Cure a lot growing up. "It's Just Like Surgery" describes how a painful relationship can be both beneficial and painful. The driving rhythms only enhance the experience. "Angels in Heaven, Angles in Hell" comes off as a creepy love song from the fifties with it' dark tones and echoed vocals. It's about withdrawing from the real world and creating your own.

In a roundabout way, Hecksher is saying he needs to wish upon a star to escape from his current situation on "We Need Starpower". That may sound positive, but you can hear the pain and anguish is his voice. The Warlocks take an interesting look on a panic attack with "Evil Eyes Again". It either that, or facing death. Speaking of death, "Suicide Note" sums up the reasons that life's not worth living for our tortured soul. Interesting guitar tones and sounds, mixed with other progressive elements help set the mood.

The Bad

Nothing notable

The Verdict

Surgery is a sad, haunting trip into a tortured and depressed mind that would make Robert Smith of The Cure proud.
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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