For about a minute at the end of ‘Oh Sandy’, for reasons doubtless best known to the band there is what sounds like an amped up lawnmower circling the speakers. That this sound is there is neither good, nor bad; that this sound is by far the most interesting thing on the Warlocks The Phoenix EP, is bad. This was picked up in April 2003 after reading about this crazy drugged-up sounding band with two drummers, just what the Dr ordered as I’d just run out of Monster Magnet LPs to catch up on. Two drummers? wow.
Imagine my disappointment then dear readers as I rushed home and slapped on ‘Baby Blue’ the first track here only to find it was an anaemic, wussy-voiced copy of the Velvet Underground – WITHOUT A DECENT DRUM SOUND!! The second track is an uninspiring, overlong Eastern-tinged dirge, but not in a good way – WITHOUT A DECENT DRUM SOUND!! The flip side starts with a wussy-voiced indie-rocker called ‘Hearts of Stone’ which, after the singer shuts up, has a decent rock out at the end; oh and it does have a decent drum sound. Now just as you might think this is all picking up again we get ‘Minneapolis Mad Man’, sadly this doesn’t appear to be a tribute to Prince (if I’m wrong about this and if you just happen to be reading this Your Purpleness, I’d have the warlocks ‘seen to’ by one of your minders for this insult). It’s a lengthy free-form jam, WITHOUT A DECENT DRUM SOUND!!), which features what sounds an awful lot like a random fellow wandering into the studio a couple minutes in shouting unintelligibly, carries on in a similar vein for about 5 minutes and then becomes a woeful strummed thing – which is when I wondered off to make a coffee until it had safely finished*
If you ask me, sporadically wonderful as they were, the Velvet Underground have a whole heap to answer for. If this record had come out 35 years ago whole dynasties of bands would have formed in The Warlocks shadow, holding The Phoenix EP as their sacred text, naming children after members of the band, holding themed parties – hell, there might even be a druggy-two-drum theme park in New York called WarlockLand where you could buy overpriced ‘Baby Blue Burgers’ and ‘Oh Candy Shakes’. But it didn’t.
81 Down. Usual 1537 caveat applies**
* I know this is breaking the 1537 code, but come on! give me a freaking break, I work for a living – this is my leisure time.
** This may be pants, but it’s infinitely better than any EP I’ve ever released.