It’s hard to remember when the Warlocks were a big deal. Too many bands have been overhyped since 2002’s Phoenix Album that even the Warlocks’ target audience probably hasn’t heard of the band. Yet, it wasn’t all that long ago that critics were putting the band in the league of Spaceman 3, the Hives, and Nico. Whatever the Warlocks remind you of, they practice the dark arts of rock ‘n’ roll in a way that will win over more fans than they will alienate.
In the case of The Mirror Explodes, it helps that the Warlocks have survived to put out five albums in a decade, still have their supporters, and that they happen to be among the best of their Los Angeles peers. The Mirror Explodes is not an album to convince you the band is the best thing for noise rock since the Big Black — not with the recent wave of bands that do it much better — but at the very least, it’s reflective of what the Warlocks’ primarily role have been this decade: to combine Velvet Underground noise with a Tom Petty-like ability to rock you as well as ease your sorrows. It’s a noise-rock album you can play without annoying your friends, but it won’t aggravate the Tortoise worshipers in your group, either.
Most important is this: If the Warlocks somehow provide a gateway to bands like VU, the Jesus & Mary Chain, or My Bloody Valentine to any of their fans, they’ve done their job as a rock band.