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The Mirror Explodes

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Album Review

As old members drop out and new members fill the vacant spots by Bobby Hecksher's side, the Warlocks' family tree grows larger with every album. Even after the departure of drummer Jason Anchondo — the longest running member behind Hecksher and the only other musician credited on the last album, Heavy Deavy Skull Lover — The Mirror Explodes sounds quite similar to its successor. You could even think of this album as a "Heavy Deavy, Pt. 2," which may seem strange since the Warlocks are now a completely reworked five-piece with three guitar players. The fact that newcomers Rees, McBride, Risher, and Mustachio haven't affected the direction just serves as proof that Hecksher is the true mastermind behind the group; a puppetmaster who directs the action in the same way that Billy Corgan commands all of the Smashing Pumpkins' material, or how Anton Newcombe directly controls the Brian Jonestown Massacre (a band that Hecksher was a part of, incidentally). Newcombe and Hecksher share a few common traits, actually. As well as a nearly uncountable list of past bandmates, they both have an affinity for Brit-pop and shoegaze, which Newcombe illustrated wonderfully on My Bloody Underground. Referencing My Bloody Valentine, the Velvet Underground, and (more so than ever) the Jesus and Mary Chain, The Mirror Explodes is a lot like My Bloody Underground, with vast layers of whirling, reverberated, whisper-soft vocals buried under trebly guitar buzz and monotonous grooves of bass and drums. Engineer Rod Cervera deserves credit for maintaining a consistent sound between the albums, but where Heavy Deavy Skull Lover had an uneven quality, and played like one long singular-sounding composition startled with big, stoner rock grooves, the songs here all sound very samey. Not to say it's an easy listen. It's a dark one, and many songs lose themselves in sleepy, drawn-out droning. However, extended jams should be nothing new to those well-versed in the Warlocks catalog, and the hot spots are excellent tracks that capitalize on Hecksher's newfound affinity for creamy wistfulness. "The Midnight Sun," "There Is a Formula to Your Despair," and "Static Eyes" all continue the feel of the last record's standout, "So Paranoid," and similarly, rekindle the warm, washy spirits of Ride's "Vapor Trail" and Galaxie 500's "Blue Thunder." No easy feat.


Formed: 1998 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Indeed, it's been a long, strange trip for Warlocks leader Bobby Hecksher since his band played their first gig on July 4, 1998. Born in Florida, Hecksher grew up on a steady diet of rock & roll -- his mother worked at a radio station owned by his grandfather -- and in the late '80s, he moved to California and soon formed his first group, Charles Brown Superstar, who issued two singles and two full-length albums before calling it a day. Hecksher was later invited to play on Beck's Stereopathetic...
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The Mirror Explodes, The Warlocks
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