The Warlocks

Surgery (Mute)

Both the Warlocks and the Raveonettes recently issued records that were buoyed by a Ronettes-like makeover. In the Warlocks' case, however, it's more tempting to use kindred spirits the Jesus and Mary Chain to describe the white-hot relaxation of their latest release, Surgery. "Think of ice cream sliding into a crack" -- only liquefied by deep, bellowing guitar riffs played like drugged-out thunder. The record's Phil-Spector-by-way-of-classic-Sonic-Youth feel comes from the act's newfound fondness for structure and gauzy harmonies that get feathered into the feedback. On previous efforts, the jam vibe made the Warlocks sound less like a band than a noise-worshiping mutual masturbation society. Although the most critically improved aspect of Surgery is the invigorating and muscled exchange between accessibility and blissfully blistered unraveling, the album's greatest pleasures come from moments more familiar to past efforts, when the songs drop off altogether in a psychedelic free-for-all of dirty rhythmic squalor.

 
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