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The Warlocks’ black-hearted new release is a pleasant surprise

Album review: The Warlocks’ ‘Skull Worship’

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The Warlocks – Skull Worship
Zap Banana
★★★ (out of 5 stars)

Psychedelic rock comes in a million different flavors. But none tastes as black-hearted or death-obsessed as that of Los Angeles’ Warlocks. Of course, after eight albums, a trip that dark can start to be a real drag, man, making Skull Worship opener “Dead Generation” a pleasantly propulsive surprise. After that, frontman Bobby Hecksher reverts to his mumble-and-groan status quo, with the rest of the band chasing its zonked-out tail on “Chameleon,” “Endless Drops” and “Eyes Jam.” But when the spare “Silver & Plastic” floats in on a sparsely arranged acoustic cloud, we’re momentarily reminded of the Warlocks’ potential. Unfortunately, similarly languid meanderings on “It’s a Hard Fall,” “He Looks Good in Space” and “You’ve Changed” soften the laid-back blow of that one standout track. But the laser-fired, oddly cinematic guitar solo on “You’ve Changed” makes the song’s interminable six-minute run time worth it – and makes Skull Worship a trusty companion for lonely stoner-rockers everywhere.

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