The name "Warlocks" was rejected by two of rock's most celebrated acts: Members of the Grateful Dead and the Velvet Underground both used it before settling on their famed appellations. By employing the handle, Warlocks leader Bobby Hecksher risks unflattering comparisons, particularly from Deadheads, who are likely to regard his rather dour take on sonic drugginess as a major bummer. But if the latest Warlocks haven't put down footprints nearly as large as those that Jerry Garcia and Lou Reed left behind, Hecksher's band is a pretty intriguing ensemble in its own right. Take Surgery, issued last year on the Mute imprint, in which the players push psychedelic elements through a gothic filter. During "Angels in Heaven, Angels in Hell," for example, a majestic melody fights its way through a delightfully hypnotic haze, while "Suicide Note" bids a long goodbye by means of a droning structure and feedback-drenched guitar figures. If they keep this up, the Warlocks, currently on tour with the kindred spirits in Sisters of Mercy, may succeed at making a name of their own.
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